Letter |

MSF Open letter to members of the WTO - Paragraph 6 Doha declaration

Dear Sir, Madam,

MSF does not support the text of December 16th (the “Motta” text) as an effective solution to the problem posed by paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health but there is now yet another threat to cripple even that deeply flawed text.

Attempts to cripple the flawed Motta text

Since December 16th there have been a number of concerted efforts to limit the already flawed Motta text further.

One attempt has been through a restriction on disease scope. The note from Chairman Motta prefacing his text makes clear that although some Members proposed a very limited disease scope, others called for a scope of equal width to the Doha Declaration i.e. simply public health problems. An analysis done by MSF demonstrates that the “approved” disease list proposed by the US and the EU makes no public health sense . The list overwhelmingly includes diseases for which there is no relevant patented medicine or even no medicine at all, while excluding diseases which are common in the West and which can be treated by patented medicines. The proposed limitation of disease scope served the interests of the pharmaceutical industry in making sure their patents weren’t threatened rather than patients interests.

Another attempt was to restrict the application of the Motta text in effect to emergency situations. MSF sent an Open Letter warning of our deep and urgent concerns on this limitation to all WTO Members on the 8th February 2003.

Most WTO Members are clear in their rejection of any such limitations but it is also clear that Members most close to the pharmaceutical industry will seek to capitalize as best they can on ambiguities in the Motta text to try to secure further limitations.