Here’s an update on our advocacy work in relation to the extension of the transition period for LDCs with regard to pharmaceutical products under Article 66.1 of the TRIPS Agreement. 

As you are aware, ahead of the TRIPS Council meeting on 9-10 June in Geneva, we had mobilised endorsements to our CSO letter to WTO members urging them to unconditionally support the LDC Group’s request for the transition period as long as countries remain LDCs including waivers from obligations under Article 70.8 (mailbox obligation) and Article 70.9 (exclusive marketing rights).

Around 30 countries supported the LDC Group’s request and it was well received. Norway and Chile fully supported while the EU and the US don’t have a clear position yet.

Please see attached:-

1) FINAL CSO letter, both in English and in French, which we sent out to WTO members ahead of the TRIPS Council meeting on 9-10 June in Geneva. The letter was endorsed by over 130 national, regional and international CSOs including individuals and patient groups from both the South and the North.

2) LDC Group statement formally presenting the request, delivered by Uganda as the focal point for TRIPS. The statement also acknowledges the support received from various international organisations, members of parliament, CSOs and suppliers of generic medicines in LDCs.

3) WHO statement supporting the LDC Group’s request.

4) The Holy See’s statement supporting the LDC Group’s request.

5) India’s statement supporting the LDC Group’s request.

6) Nepal’s statement reinforcing the LDC Group’s request.

Friends, although Article 66.1 of TRIPS states “The Council for TRIPS shall, upon duly motivated request by a least-developed country Member, accord extensions of this period” and therefore, WTO members should honour their legal obligation; nonetheless as has been our experience fighting for the general extension of TRIPS waiver to LDCs in 2013 we need to wage another battle with the developed countries for this specific pharmaceutical waiver extension too!