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On the way to HongKong.. (WTO ministerial
meeting, 13.-18.Dezember 2005), 30.9.2005
The WTO ministerial meeting will take place in HK from 13 to 18 December (see: http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/min05_e/min05_e.htm ). 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:
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