U.S. Civil Society Platform on Trade-Related IP and Access to Medicines Issues

Original Publication Date: 
8 June, 2009

U.S. Civil Society Platform on Trade-Related Intellectual Property and
Access to Medicines Issues

The following represents four key goals that our organizations agree
should guide US trade policy and practice with regard to intellectual
property (IP) and health matters.

Under each goal we have listed specific actions that we would like to
see the Obama Administration -- including but not limited to the Office
of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) -- and the U.S.
Congress take, as appropriate, in order to work toward these goals.

This is not meant to be an exhaustive list of actions, but rather those
we all agree are critical to achieving these goals. Some of our
organizations do not work on all of the issues raised, while others work
on relevant issues not specifically mentioned in this platform. Yet we
are united in our support for these goals and would like to work with
the Administration and Congress to advance such an agenda to promote
both innovation and access to affordable life-saving medicines.


US trade policy and practice should:

1. Promote availability of affordable life-saving medications and
protect public health in developing countries

Among the actions we recommend toward this end are the following:

• Reaffirm the US commitment to the 2001 WTO Doha Declaration on the
TRIPS Agreement and Public Health and the 2008 WHO Global Strategy and
Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property,
permit use of TRIPS safeguards and flexibilities by Member Countries to
increase access to medicines for all, and actively support and promote
countries’ efforts to implement those flexibilities.

• Forbid the use of threats and punitive actions, such as listing in the
Special 301 Watch List and/or withdrawal of Generalized System of
Preferences benefits, in response to a country’s use of TRIPS safeguards
and flexibilities or refusal to adopt TRIPS-plus measures.

• Commit to not implementing or enforcing TRIPS-plus provisions in
existing free trade agreements (FTAs), which adversely affect access to
affordable medicines, and adopt a policy not to implement, include or
enforce TRIPS-plus measures in pending or future trade agreements.

• As a starting point, extend the limited public health flexibilities in
the US-Peru Free Trade Agreement to existing, pending and future
bilateral and regional FTAs that include TRIPS-plus provisions.

• Encourage governments to require open licensing of publicly funded
medical inventions for use in the developing world, for example through
licensing to the UNITAID patent pool for medicines.


2. Promote innovation to develop and distribute new, effective medicines
that address essential health needs without limiting access to existing
or future medical products

Among the actions we recommend toward this end are the following:

• Actively support and implement the Global Strategy and Plan of Action
on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property of the WHO
Inter-Governmental Working Group to promote both innovation and access
to medicines.

• Establish a time-bound working group within the US government to
consider new models of innovation that can encourage innovation for new
medicines without restricting access to existing or future medicines,
such as prize funds that separate the market for health products from
the market for innovation, patent pools and a proposed WHO R&D
Biomedical Treaty.

• Encourage governments to provide open access to government funded
medical research, such as is now required by the NIH Public Access Policy.


3. Respect the right of all governments to regulate pharmaceutical
markets and ensure equitable access

Among the actions we recommend toward this end are the following:

• Forbid the restriction or interference with any national, regional, or
local government program to establish reimbursement rates or otherwise
control the costs of pharmaceuticals or medical devices.


4. Promote transparency and integrate public health interests into trade
policy- making

Among the actions we recommend toward this end are the following:

• Assure fair and adequate representation by advocates for public health
and for access to medicines on federal advisory committees to the U.S.
Trade Representative.

• Provide adequate and open information regarding on-going US
negotiations on key intellectual property treaties that will affect
access to medicines, including bilateral FTAs and the
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

May 2009

Endorsed by the following organizations:

ACT UP/New York
ACT UP/Philadelphia
ActionAid International USA
Africa Action
African Services Committee
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
American Public Health Association (APHA) Trade and Health Forum
American University, Washington College of Law, Program on Information
Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP)
Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH)
Essential Action
Forum on Democracy & Trade
Global AIDS Alliance
Health GAP (Global Access Project)
Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR)
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate
Oxfam America
Peoples Health Movement-USA
Salud y Fármacos
Stop HIV/AIDS in India Initiative (SHAII)
Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC)
TransAfrica Forum
Treatment Action Group (TAG)
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)
University Coalitions for Global Health (UCGH)
Vermont Global Health Coalition