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[e-drug] European Parliament meeting with Lamy and Moore

  • From: "Ellen 't Hoen" <ethoen@compuserve.com>
  • Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 12:45:13 -0500 (EST)

E-drug: European Parliament meeting with Lamy and Moore

On 21 February Pascale Lamy (EU Commissioner for trade) and Mike
Moore (DG WTO) met with the development committee of the
European Parliament to brief them on the Seattle ministerial meeting.
The issue of access to medicines came up through a question from
MEP Glynis Kinnock. Here is a brief report.

Ellen 't Hoen
MSF Campaign on Access to Essential Medicines

Ellen 't Hoen LL.M.
e-mail: ethoen@compuserve.com

P.O. Box 15605
1001 NC Amsterdam
The Netherlands

tel: + 31 20 620 1743
fax: + 31 20 6201581
mobile: + 31 (0) 6 5573 5472


Notes on the briefing in the European Parliament for the committee on
Development and Co-operation on Monday 21 February Mike Moore -
Director of the WTO and EU Commissioner for Trade Pascal Lamy.

One of the first people to be called on for questions, Glynis Kinnock
(labour MEP UK) asked in a clear voice to Lamy and to Mike Moore the
following questions (note this is not a verbatim report):

She asked what lessons in general they had learned from Seattle and
in particular on the Access to Essential Medicines issue,

To Pascal Lamy

1) The EC proposed in a "common working paper with Hungary,
Japan, Korea, Switzerland and Turkey to the Seattle Ministerial
Declaration" the following on TRIPS and access to medicines:

This proposal would have rendered Compulsory Licensing useless. Of
the 306 drugs on the WHO Essential Drug List only a handful are
patented drugs. The TRIPS agreement, and in particular Article 31,
shall be understood to permit developing countries to issue, in
accordance with the provisions laid down in this article and other
relevant articles compulsory licenses for drugs appearing on the list of
essential drugs of the WHO.

Can you clarify whether this proposal was a serious attempt to
encourage the use of compulsory licensing to increase access to
medicines in poor countries or whether it was drafted with the aim to
deliberately limit and paralyse the use of compulsory licensing.

LAMY ANSWERED - in French that on the question of TRIPS and
medicines, he did not think that the health problems of developing
countries is linked to the issue of Access to essential medicines ("Je
ne croix pas que le probleme sanitaire des pays en voie de
developpements c'est un probleme d'acces aux medicaments
essentiels...c'est un probleme de distribution ...). It is a problem of
distribution, (he listed problems linked to infrastructure etc) ... he said
that there are clear allowances within TRIPS for developing countries
on this issue. He also said that in any case many of the countries are
not TRIPS compliant "et beaucoup n'ont pas les legislations locales en
place". Others do not have the basic local patent related legislation in

(This is more or less the same answer he gave to journalists at the
press conference in December after the MSF Access campaign

The second question to Mike Moore was:

2) Does the European Commission support the proposal to create a
Standing Working Group on Access to Medicines at the World Trade
Organization. This working group would work with the Council for
TRIPS and other WTO bodies to review a number of issues concerning
intellectual property rules and other trade related issues, as they relate
to access to medicines. (more or less phrased like that.)

MIKE MOORE REPLIED - re "the Working Group - It is up to our
members to organise but we came tantalizingly close in Seattle to see
what we could do in that area. Which is why I am so disappointed..."

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