Letter from Gopal Dabade, Director of BUKO Pharma-Kampagne, to Pascal Lamy

13th February 2003

Pascal Lamy
Commissioner for Trade,
European Commission,
Rue de la Loi 200,
B-1049 Brussels,

Dear Pascal Lamy,

This letter expresses concerns over your initiatives to break the current deadlock on the access to essential medicines. In you in your letter dated 7th January 2003 to the WTO Trade Ministers, you suggest a limited list of infectious disease for developing countries. This undermines the basic statement of the Doha declaration, which clearly states that countries with no capabilities of manufacturing should be able to decide, depending on the public health crises.

It is unfortunate that this list of diseases, that has been produced by your commission is the list that has been promoted by the United States of American government, and so obviously representing the interests of the United States of America. This list is extremely arbitrary and has no relevance, as it does not look at the real health issues that are at stake and most importantly, it also takes away the right of the developing countries to decide on health issues which are of major concerns to them, as they are the best to decide on issues which concern them.

The list of diseases that have been proposed by you also does not include diseases like cancer, diabetes and others which are also a major public health problems in developing countries.

If the discussions on important public health issues are hijacked by EU and USA in such fashion then inevitable the Fifth Session of its Ministerial Conference, to be held in Cancun, Mexico, in September 2003, will land up being another revival of the Seattle meeting, in which huge demonstrations only marred the proceedings of the WTO ministerial.

Keeping this experience in mind we are sure you will reconsider the statements made by you as this issue of Doha declaration concerns life of million of people and it could lead to an international trade crisis thus it would make a bleak picture for WTO in future.

We strongly believe and urge you to give up making proposals that would restrict the agreement on compulsory licences to a limited list of diseases and even involving the World Health Organization in assessing public health concerns simply constitutes an unacceptable attempt to restrict developing countries’ use of compulsory licensing. We firmly assert that the scope of diseases was already extensively discussed in Doha, and the consensus text included in the Doha declaration rejects any limitations.

With best wishes. From;
Dr Gopal Dabade,
BUKO Pharma-Kampagne,
August Bebel Str 62,
D 33602 bielefeld,
Tel +49 521 60550,
Fax 63789,

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