Letter from the World Heart Federation to the WTO on the Paragraph Six Negotiations

December 16, 2002

To the attention of the Trade Minister (cc to Health Minister)

The Head of the Diplomatic Delegation in Geneva (cc to the WTO Delegate)

SUBJECT: Call for some changes at WTO TRIPS Council on "TRIPS agreement and Public Health"

Dear Minister, Dear Ambassador,

The World Heart Federation is particularly worried with the outcomes of the next TRIPS Council on Friday December 13, in which WTO members will discuss the solution to the problem posed by the paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health. The TRIPS Council has to find an "expeditious solution" to the threat posed by article 31(f) of the TRIPS agreement to access to essential medicines, in countries which have "insufficient or no manufacturing capacities in the pharmaceutical sector".

Public health problems should not be dealt as a trade issue only. The voice of public health professionals and health ministries should be heard. Nonetheless, we call for the solution due to be reached by the TRIPS Council before the end of 2002 to satisfy a number of important conditions.

The World Heart Federation cannot agree with the solutions proposed so far; some changes should be implemented.

Thank you for your attention.

Professor Mario Maranhão
President, World Heart Federation

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