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Parliamentary questions
23 January 2018
P-007310/2017
Answer given by Ms Malmström on behalf of the Commission

The EU recognises the importance of the Doha Declaration on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights and Public Health, allowing the granting of compulsory licences where necessary. The Commission proposes a clause in EU trade agreements referring to the Doha Declaration, which guarantees that in interpreting and implementing the rights and obligations under the new trade agreement, consistency with the Doha Declaration is ensured. The Commission is following this approach in the negotiations with Mercosur.

In the context of international trade, intellectual property right issues are often portrayed in the public debate as the main barrier to access to medicines. However, more than 90% of all essential medicines listed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) are not patent protected. The need to seek holistic solutions is echoed in a joint-report from the WHO, World Trade Organisation and World Intellectual Property Organisation that the ‘lack of access to medical technologies is rarely due to a single isolated factor’.(1)

In line with the above, the Commission has contributed more than EUR 1.6 billion to the Global Fund improving access and combatting diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria from the EU budget and from the European Development Fund since 2001. The Global Fund also receives support from many EU Member States directly, bringing the contribution of the EU collectively to almost 50% of the USD 4 billion that the Global Fund spends every year.

(1)Promoting Access to Medical technologies and Innovation. Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade, Trilateral study by WHO, WIPO and WTO, Geneva, 2012.

Last updated: 5 February 2018Legal notice