Minutes - TRIPS Council - View details of the intervention/statement

Ambassador Alfredo Suescum (Panama)
World Health Organization (WHO)
248. We very much welcome the opportunity to continue the discussions on the High Level Panel Report. Since the last discussions, WHO Member States seized the opportunity to discuss the HLP Report at the WHO Executive Board meeting in January. The Executive Board also decided that the HLP Report should be discussed again by the World Health Assembly in May 2017. 249. We will not repeat our statement on the different recommendations of the High-Level Panel Report, but would like to refer to our statement as reproduced in the minutes of the last meeting. We would like to seize the opportunity to welcome, in particular, the call of the Panel Report for more transparency on prices. One of the High Level Panel recommendations to WHO is to set up a global pricing database. This recommendation ties very well with activities already ongoing at WHO. Indeed, the WHO Global Price Reporting Mechanism provides pricing and procurement data for HIV; TB and malaria treatment and has recently been expanded to include the new hepatitis C treatments. 250. WHO has set up a comprehensive web platform that provides information on vaccine product, price and procurement data with the goal of increasing price transparency and informing decisions around vaccine introduction and implementation. 251. In the framework of our new initiative on Fair Pricing, we are assessing the production costs of essential medicines. This will allow procurement agencies to better evaluate their performance and will contribute to the overall objective of transparency. The Fair Pricing Forum will be co hosted by WHO and the Government of the Netherlands on 10-11 May in the Netherlands. 252. One of the main themes of the HLP is the call for more policy coherence. As a response to this call, WHO took the initiative in December 2016 to call for an "all agency meeting" with UNDP, UNAIDS, UNCTAD, WTO, WIPO; High Commissioner for Human Rights and UNITAID to discuss the different activities and plan for the future, including how to best follow up on the HLP Report. 253. Access to medicines is a complex issue. The WHO Secretariat commits to pursue its efforts to ensure access for all to needed medicines, including through providing assistance to its Member States on using all possible means to achieve access to essential medicines. Without this, there shall be no Universal Health Coverage.
The Council took note of the statements made.
63. The Chairman recalled that Brazil, China, India and South Africa had requested that this item be added to the agenda of the Council's meeting in November 2016. To introduce the item, they had also submitted a communication (document IP/C/W/619).

64. In the course of that discussion, the delegation of South Africa had requested that this item be continued as an ad hoc item at the next meeting and the Council so agreed.

65. Since this was a continuation of the discussion had held at the Council's meeting in November 2016, he briefly summarized what had been said at that meeting. According to the co sponsors, the request to add this item to the Council's agenda had been intended to facilitate an exchange of views on the recommendations of the High Level Panel, as well as to share national experiences regarding the use of TRIPS flexibilities. At the meeting in November 2016, some delegations had welcomed the discussion of the report in this Council while others had said that they needed more time to consider the recommendations. Some delegations had expressed concern about the narrow scope of the report and had noted that it had neither been mandated nor endorsed by Members of the United Nations.

66. The representatives of India; Bangladesh on behalf of the LDC Group; Brazil; South Africa; China; Indonesia; Nigeria on behalf of the African Group; Egypt; the United States; Japan; Canada; the Republic of Korea; Norway; the European Union; Switzerland; Australia; Chinese Taipei; and Chile took the floor.

67. The representative of the World Health Organization took the floor.

68. The Council took note of the statements made.

IP/C/M/85, IP/C/M/85/Add.1