Actas - Consejo de los ADPIC - Ver detalles de la intervención/declaración

Mr. Martin Glass (Hong Kong, China)
World Trade Organization
180. The representative of the Secretariat noted that on the occasion of the enhanced annual review of the System at the Council's last meeting, the Secretariat had provided a detailed overview of the technical co-operation efforts it had undertaken in relation to public health and access to medicines. In a brief update to supplement that report, he said that public health as well as the TRIPS provisions that were most relevant to innovation and access to medicines continued to form an integral part of the Secretariat's technical assistance efforts. This emphasis on public health had strengthened since the adoption of the Doha Declaration. Since the TRIPS waiver in 2003 and the Protocol Amending the TRIPS Agreement in 2005, virtually all technical cooperation activities concerning TRIPS had addressed the System. These had included regional workshops, Geneva-based events, national seminars, or other more tailored activities. This amounted to a large number of activities that were very diverse in character. 181. He said that three general trends in technical cooperation had been identified in October. The first was the increasing trend towards partnerships with other organizations, both within and beyond the established trilateral partnership between the Secretariats of the WHO, WIPO and the WTO. This trend was occurring at the planning, coordination and programme delivery levels, so as to ensure that the necessary breadth of expertise was available, and to more effectively leverage the investment of resources. The second trend was towards providing a stronger practical understanding of the relevant elements of the TRIPS Agreement and how they could be practically embedded into operational procurement programmes with greater interconnection between the technical cooperation activities and those responsible for the procurement of medicines. The third trend was towards exploring the possibilities arising from the enhanced and more integrated information basis that was emerging, including on patent coverage, prices and access to medicines by vulnerable populations. This strong base of information was enabling technical cooperation to become more focused, tailored and practically oriented towards specific drug procurement objectives. 182. Those trends had been consolidated since the previous Council meeting. On the first point, cooperation with other international organizations in the conduct of such technical assistance had been further enhanced. Efforts to coordinate and provide mutual support for the programme partners had increased. Following the Doha Declaration and the establishment of the System, the WHO had become a regular participant in all regional and Geneva-based activities to the extent that resource constraints had permitted. It had thus joined WIPO as the WTO Secretariat's traditional partner, and had brought a vital public health perspective to each of the programmes. In addition, others concerned with access to medicines, including civil society, public sector procurement initiatives, industry representatives, public private partnerships, and policy analysts, had also been closely involved. Events such as the Colloquium for Teachers and the Advanced Course had included presentations from participating scholars and policy analysts from a wide range of countries. Many of these participants had chosen to address access to medicines and related issues in their presentations. 183. He said that the increased focus on technical cooperation in relation to public health and intellectual property had been assisted through active dialogue, coordination and partnership with the WHO and WIPO. Such highly productive collaboration had facilitated the further involvement of WHO and WIPO experts in WTO technical cooperation activities. This had enabled more effective and tailored technical cooperation efforts that were subsequently being conducted from a better informed factual background. Earlier in the year, a regional seminar had taken up this issue. The "WTO Regional Workshop on Intellectual Property and Public Policy for Central and Eastern European and Central Asian Countries" had benefited from the valued contributions of colleagues from WIPO, and experts from both the WHO headquarters in Geneva and from its regional office responsible for Europe. 184. He said that the trilateral cooperation had also led to joint technical cooperation activities, including technical symposia co organized by the three Secretariats. A report on the "Access to Medicines: Pricing and Procurement Practices" symposium, held in Geneva on 16 July 2010, had already been provided at the Council's last meeting. The symposium had laid out several themes for continuing cooperation with respect to the exchange of empirical data and practical experience. As a follow up to that activity, the three Secretariats had jointly organized a second symposium on 18 February 2011. Hosted by the WHO, the event had taken up one of the specific themes covered in the inaugural symposium, namely "Access to Medicines, Patent Information and Freedom to Operate". To strengthen the technical basis of discussions, the symposium had been preceded by a WIPO-hosted workshop on 17 February 2011 on "Patent Searches and Freedom to Operate". 185. The objectives of the most recent symposium had been (i) to highlight the importance of easy access to patent information for providing access to medicines, (ii) to show how patent information could be used in determining the freedom to operate for improving access to medicines, (iii) to explore what kind of patent information would be required for this purpose, (iv) to explore to what extent this information was available and accessible, and (v) to identify information gaps that needed to be addressed. The symposium had focused on new research outcomes and data that could provide an empirical and practical basis for discussion. Speakers had described several projects aimed at deriving a better understanding of access to medicines issues through the enhanced use of patent information tools. Various providers and users of intellectual property information had shared their perspectives. These had included representatives from research-based industries, procurement initiatives, the generic pharmaceutical industry, and information providers such as national patent offices. At a strictly technical level, this had been a capacity building event and not a policy forum. For this reason, there had been no specific conclusions or outcomes. However, it was worth noting that the symposium had included a vigorous and insightful discussion covering the challenges of access and making use of patent information to build a clearer overview of freedom to operate issues pertaining to product development and access to medicines. The symposium had concluded with a note of cautious optimism about the potential for an improved and more geographically representative coverage of patent information. Full details would be posted on the websites of the three organizations so that the material could be used to support continuing dialogue and technical cooperation in this field. 186. The resources that were being developed to support technical cooperation included the table of legislation implementing the System. The table had been created and posted on the WTO website in response to specific requests made at the previous Council meeting. There had also been other material developed subsequent to the previous October's discussion. The material would help Members understand the necessary steps and practical implications of accepting the Protocol. It had been presented on the basis of the discussions and background explanations provided at the previous Council meeting. The material addressed the frequently asked questions in this subject area, and provided a model form for acceptance of the TRIPS Amendment. It also made some important practical points. In particular, it distinguished between the act of acceptance of the TRIPS Amendment and the implementation of the System. On the one hand, acceptance could be described as a means of confirming on the international plane that other Members were entitled to use this flexibility. On the other hand, a choice whether or not to use the system was a separate matter, in the domain of domestic implementation, including through necessary legislation. Members were already entitled to make use of the System even in advance of the amendment coming into force.