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

H.E. Ambassador Lundeg Purevsuren
European Union

713.   I would like to thank South Africa and WHO for what they have said and also, I would like to thank other delegates for the points they have raised. 714.   When it comes to transparency of the cost of medicines members of the European Union and the EU would agree that we have to provide guaranties and we have to work together so we can boost transparency in the marketplace. But the actual cost of producing medicines is relatively low or basically zero in some cases. 715.   As was said by colleagues of WHO, other factors have to be borne in mind such as research and development: these costs are the highest and the most burdensome for the pharmaceutical industry. 716.   If we look at the procedure for bringing to market, clinical and pre-clinical tests can take years. Public funding differs between EU Members and differs around the world. Everyone knows that such help, subsidies which vary, are quite often part of the pricing. 717.   I would like to add that the communication which was shared by South Africa is very interesting but is something that we also raised during the panel discussion at the UN. 718.   A patent gives you a monopoly, gives you an operating monopoly, there is no doubt of that, and a monopoly is allocated to all medicines of the same company. There are medicines, there is development, there is research but out of that research only very few medicines get to market and that costs money. Therefore, there is a transparency cost here because pharmaceutical companies are in a very competitive market and must have return on investment. We cannot leave aside those facts. Those are market facts. 719.   We do not think in the EU that we confuse competition policy with this. In the EU, within a single market, competition in the pharmaceutical sector is treated in the same way as for any other sector. We recognize the actual cost of the medicine is something which is very delicate. I did not want you to be confused and let South Africa's communication say what it does not.

The Council took note of the statements made.
68.   The Chair noted that the item had been put on the agenda at the request of South Africa. A communication on this topic had been circulated in document IP/C/W/659. It included questions to guide the discussion. He invited South Africa to introduce the item.
69.   The representatives of South Africa; India; the European Union; China; Chinese Taipei; Brazil; Switzerland; Japan; the United States of America; and the WHO took the floor.
70.   The Council took note of the statements made.
IP/C/M/93, IP/C/M/93/Add.1