BUKO Pharma-Kampagne letter to Pascal Lamy

March 11, 2003

EU Commissioner
Pascal Lamy,
rue de la Loi, 200
B-1049 Brussels

Doha and Public Health
11th March 2003

Dear Mr. Lamy,

Thanks for your letter of 27th February 2003, which was in response to my earlier letter dated 13th February 2003, regarding Doha declaration and Public Health.

We appreciate that you make “quite clear from the outset: for the EU the Doha mandate is deliberately broad in its scope and that breadth must be respected. In short, the WTO mechanism for gaining access to medicines can and must be activated whenever there is a serious public health problem.”

While fully appreciating EU stand for the Doha declaration and its scope of the decision on the compulsory licensing for countries without manufacturing capacity we insist it should be only that of the Doha declaration and there should be imposed no additional hurdles.

Unfortunately the essence of Doha Declaration is diluted when you try to be more anxious to attend to the distrust of one WTO member. In fact your letter gives contradicting messages. You point out that Doha Declaration has to be accepted in entirety, which is the demand of the developing countries. In the next paragraphs you dilute the stand on Doha. The substance of the Doha declaration is firm and clear, as the scope of the diseases was already extensively discussed in Doha and the consensus text included in the Doha declaration rejects any limitation that you are suggesting.

By suggesting a list of diseases you are taking away the sovereignty of the countries, to decide what is relevant and appropriate for their health care system. For that reason we disagree that the “16 December text” would be a good solution.

The suggestion of yours to include WHO in the decision making process, only further dilute the Doha declaration, as it takes the away the sovereignty of the countries in their decision for public health, as it is guaranteed in the Doha declaration. We ask you to withdraw from the concept of a list of diseases and from a third party (WHO) to decide about a need of any country for a compulsory licence. Any additional restriction further complicating the anyway difficult process of compulsory licensing is unacceptable, it is against the health needs of the poorest countries.

While appreciating your statement that “the scope of the decision on compulsory licensing for countries without manufacturing capacity should be that of the Doha Declaration”, we would strongly recommend to you that the EU should act in the best interest of the people whose lives are at stake and not to “dispel the US’s misgivings”.

We firmly recommend a solution under § 30 of the TRIPS agreement, which is the solution in favour of the developing countries, as demanded by them and many NGOs.

Fully knowing the gravity of the problem, I hope you will re look at the issue. I hope I have cleared your doubts on the issue and look for an open letter from your office pledging full and unaltered support for the Doha declaration.

Your sincerely

Dr. Gopal Dabade

Copies to: German Ministry of Health (Klaus Theo Schröder), Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (Dr. Uschi Eid), Ministry of Economic Affairs (Dr. Axel Gerlach and Arno Schwed), Ministry of Law (Dr. Hansjörg Geiger), MSF, Aids-Kampagne, PHM and HAI.

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