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

H.E. Ambassador Xolelwa Mlumbi-Peter (South Africa)
World Health Organization (WHO)
847.   Universal Health Coverage is a priority for the World Health Organization and is part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). That is the main reason why WHO has supported requests of LDC WTO Members with respect to the extension of the transition period for pharmaceutical products. 848.   The challenges that remain for LDCs in terms of achieving development goals and structural transformation, in addition to their high degree of vulnerability in the current pandemic, and not only with COVID-19, but as well as for other diseases, oblige WHO to make a statement in support of the current request from LDCs for an extension of the transition period under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement. 849.   An extension of the transition period would facilitate LDCs' access to essential treatments and build up viable technology bases and manufacturing capacities in these countries. A further extension to the general exemption from full TRIPS compliance for as long as a country remains an LDC as well as a transition period upon graduation from LDC status are critical for the achievement of SDG 3 related to health. Extending the transition period during the current pandemic will facilitate a reduction in disparities in, for example, the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, that we all witness today. 850.   Finally, not only does the pandemic represent an immense challenge for LDCs but it has compromised social and economic development in these countries. 851.   WHO strongly encourages WTO Members to support the extension requested by Chad on behalf of the LDC Group.
The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
78. The Chair said that the agenda item had been requested by Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group; and a communication had been circulated. She recalled that the transition period for LDC Members had been extended twice: Most recently, by the TRIPS Council Decision of 11 June 2013. Regarding extensions of the transition period, the second sentence of Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement provided that "The Council for TRIPS shall, upon duly motivated request by a least developed country Member, accord extensions of this period." She invited the LDC Group to introduce the request.
79. The representative of Chad, on behalf of the LDC Group took the floor.
80. The Chair invited Members to take the floor.
81. The representatives of Bangladesh; Bangladesh, on behalf of the LDC Group, Nepal; Mali; Cambodia; Angola; Afghanistan; Senegal; Jamaica, on behalf of the ACP Group; China; South Africa; Argentina; Egypt; Tanzania, on behalf of the African Group; Indonesia; Turkey; the United States of America; the European Union; Oman; India; Japan; Nigeria; the United Kingdom; Switzerland; and the World Health Organization (WHO) took the floor.
82. The Chair proposed that the LDC Group consult with the Members, that had intervened at the present meeting, to bridge the differences. She would also be available to consult with Members. Considering the time-sensitivity due to the upcoming deadline in 2021, she proposed to revert to the request at the next meeting.
83. The Council took note of the statements made and agreed to revert to the matter at its next meeting.
IP/C/M/96, IP/C/M/96/Add.1