184. The Chairman said that the item on "Implementation of Paragraph 6 System" had been put on the agenda at the written request, dated 26 May 2010, of the delegations of Brazil, China, Cuba, Ecuador, India, Indonesia, Peru and Venezuela. He recalled that the "Operation of the Paragraph 6 System" had been discussed under "Other Business" at the Council's previous meeting in March. At that meeting, his predecessor had reported on the consultations she had held on 12 February at the Council's request. The purpose of those consultations had been to provide a platform to share experiences and to look at concerns in an informal setting without prejudging the outcome. Subsequent discussions seemed to indicate that, while there was readiness to share experiences and to engage in fact based discussions with a view to reaching a full understanding of the system's functioning, there were different views as to whether that could be best done by organizing a dedicated workshop, or within the existing annual review which had been built into the system, and also whether further discussions should be held in an open ended meeting involving all relevant stakeholders or limited to Members only. In concluding the discussion, Ambassador Tan had asked him as the incoming Chair to contact interested delegations in order to explore how best to proceed on the matter. Accordingly, he had consulted with delegations to explore the matter, including at an informal meeting on the previous morning.
185. He said that there was agreement to set aside the second day of the Council's meeting scheduled for the 26 and 27 October for the next annual review of the Paragraph 6 system in order to make it a more meaningful exercise. That would make it easier also for capital based delegates to attend that discussion. It would also respond to the concern expressed by some that not enough time had been dedicated for the reviews at the Council's end of year meetings.
186. There was also a basic willingness among delegations to have some form of discussion prior to the next annual review in order to have a full understanding of the system's functioning. However, this was from where the views continued to diverge, despite lengthy discussions. One group of delegations believed that this could be best done by organizing a dedicated workshop involving all relevant stakeholders, with presentations from non governmental organizations (NGOs), the pharmaceutical industry and other experts, so as to receive information on all aspects of the operation of the system and related concerns. That would then provide input for the Council's annual review. Another group of delegations felt that, at this stage, what was most needed was an in depth discussion among Members on their experiences, including why potential beneficiaries had not used the system so far, as well as on matters, such as government procurement policies and other matters of domestic implementation. In their view, that kind of information could best be provided by the Members themselves. Therefore, at this stage those delegations would prefer to stay within the existing annual review mechanism.
187. He said that, as a possible compromise, he had explored the option of holding an informal Council meeting in mid September, around the time of the WTO Public Forum scheduled for 15 17 September, in which Geneva and capital based delegates would participate. This meeting could be well structured, its aim being to facilitate the sharing of experiences and understanding of concerns through presentations by Members. Delegates would of course be free to consult in advance with outside experts to get their input in order to prepare for this meeting. In parallel, there could also be an event organized on this subject at the WTO Public Forum that would be open to all, whether delegates or representatives of NGOs, generic pharmaceutical companies, R&D based pharmaceutical companies, or any other interested party. However, at the informal meeting the previous morning, the Council had not yet been able to bridge the remaining gaps on how to proceed with its preparations for the next annual review, apart from the two points of agreement already indicated.