Statement |

NGO Statement to the WTO / WHO on Differential Pricing & Financing of Essential Drugs

Statement by Consumer Project on Technology, Health Action International, MSF, Oxfam and Treatment Action Group following the WHO/WTO workshop in Høsbjør, Norway. NGOs expressed disappointment that no real progress was made in terms of bringing prices of essential drugs down, and stressed that the only proven effective way of doing so is to encourage generic competition.

HØSBJØR, Norway – Representatives of the five non-governmental organizations (NGOs) who participated in the three day WHO / WTO Workshop on Differential Pricing & Financing of Essential Drugs issued the following joint statement on the goals, proceedings, and outcome of the workshop.

The WHO/WTO workshop provided a new forum for health and trade experts to come together to work on eliminating trade barriers to long-term, affordable drug access. However NGOs expressed disappointment about the fact that no real progress was made to bring drug prices for essential drugs in developing countries down.

NGOs present at the meeting stressed that one proven effective way to bring prices down is to increase competition by encouraging generic competition.

In June following an initiative of a group of African countries a special session of the WTO TRIPS Council will be devoted to health. For the first time countries will discuss how the requirements of the TRIPS Agreement can be reconciled with health needs in developing countries. NGOs will work together to ensure that their proposals voiced at this workshop in Norway are addressed at the upcoming WTO TRIPS Council meeting in June 2001 in Geneva. These proposals include a call on the TRIPS Council to extend the deadline for the least developed countries to comply with the TRIPS Agreement and to design mechanisms ensure R&D for neglected diseases in developing countries.