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On the way to HongKong.. (WTO ministerial meeting, 13.-18.Dezember 2005), 30.9.2005

Dear all,

The WTO ministerial meeting will take place in HK from 13 to 18 December (see: ). Such meetings take place every two years (Seattle 1999, Doha 2001 and Cancun 2004). Since '99, these meetings have been the opportunity for MSF to address directly the trade related issues of access to medicines: "our patients are dying" in Seattle, the Doha declaration on TRIPS and Public Health in 2001 and... nothing much except a very complicated mechanism for countries lacking manufacturing capacities in 2003.

Access to medicines is not officially on the agenda this year. Most of the WTO members are willing to give the impression that the issue is solved: the Doha declaration has been agreed upon (but is not being respected by some of the WTO members - see FTAs) and the process of implementing the P6 mechanism = the "August 30 solution" = the compulsory license for export is being implemented in countries (done in Canada, Norway and the Netherlands and in process of implementing in the EU) and the process of amending the TRIPs text accordingly is under way (and actually at a stand still, as US, African countries and EU do not manage to agree on what the amendment should actually be).

MSF's objective will therefore be to raise awareness on the fact that the issue of affordable new medicines is not solved, far from it (see second line ARV treatment) and that the promises made on TRIPs regarding increased innovation is not being held for developing countries (lack of adapted, practical and affordable medical tools). Our core messages are explained in the letter we sent this week to Mr. Pascal Lamy, recently appointed as new head of the WTO (and previous Commissioner for Trade at the EU, when he had made access to medicines one of his top dossiers) - see attached (and shortly available on Tukul)

This letter should be circulated widely to all your contacts in the coming days and be used as a way to establish contact with people directly involved with Hong Kong:
- Ministry of Trade, Economic Affairs or other, in charge of international trade: send to highest level + technical level. Identify members of the delegation going to HK and suggest a meeting for briefing
- Ministry of Development and Cooperation, of Ext Aff or alike. Ministry of Health. Idem: identify members of delegation and/or in charge of TRIPs and Health. Provide them with the letter and suggest meeting
- Members of parliament: committees on development, on international trade. Identify whether anyone is going to HK and ensure briefing, see whether a parliamentary report or resolution is being prepared on the WTO agenda for HK (the European Parliament is writing a report and sending a delegation. I am dealing with them)
- Provide the letter to NGOs, institutions, etc. you are in touch with. Note that a lot of NGOs are already fully mobilising themselves on the preparation for HK (NGOs working on trade issues). Try to get them to include the message on access to affordable new medicines in their statements and encourage health NGOs to ask national authorities how access to medicines will be dealt at at the WTO in the future.

The campaign will make the letter circulate on international e-lists such as Ip-Health, e-drug, etc.

Internally, it may be useful to re-address the issue of lack of access to affordable medicines with your Coms Dpt in order to have them fully briefed and start identifying communication opportunities.

Several already available reference documents can be used: the last untangling the web (and press release which includes a good summary of issues), the Paediatric HIV/AIDS briefing, the R&D briefing and even the "post 2005" are still very useful. Specific documents and action plan (advocacy and comms) will be made available in the coming weeks.

Hope this is useful. Don't hesitate in calling me for additional information if needed. HK preparations are also on the agenda of next week's campaign coordination and management meeting and more information will be available afterwards.

Keep well and in touch

30.September 2005

MSF Access to Medicines Campaign's EU Liaison Officer
Rue Dupré 94
1090 Brussels
32 2 474 75 09 (dir off)
32 479 514 900 (mobile)