A medicine is not a consumable resource like others, and the public interest cannot be served if only a minority of people have access to genuinely innovative treatments because of their high price. It is important to find other incentives and means to recover investment than patents and the high price of medicines, with more involvement of public authorities.
Immediately applicable solutions exist, however, in the current system for improving access to medicines – here or elsewhere – and other, longer-term measures have been debated for more than a decade within the WHO and other UN agencies. Only the political will is missing.
Public Eye demands that Switzerland and its pharmaceutical industry:
- Respect the rights of states to make full use of the flexibilities included in the international agreements in force (TRIPS flexibilities) to give primacy to the right to health over economic interests, by facilitating access to medicines for all.
- Fight against the excessive price of medicines, in particular those against cancer.
- Public Eye requests the Federal Council to resort to compulsory licencing (public non-commercial use ou government use licence) when the defence of public interests require it, in particular concerning unfair pricing of drugs against cancer.
- Public Eye requests the Federal Council, the SECO, the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property, and all other representatives of the Swiss government to stop spreading false information and putting pressure on countries that wish to resort to compulsory licencing to protect the health of their populations.
- Public Eye requests the Federal Council to modify the Swiss external policy on health, adopted in 2012, in order to recognise the right of all countries to apply the flexibilities included in the TRIPS Agreement when they deem it necessary, and not only in “urgent situations”, as falsely asserted.
- And to renounce the imposition on developing countries, via the bilateral free-trade agreements or other types of multilateral treaties, a reinforcement of intellectual property rights going beyond the obligations of the TRIPS Agreement (no TRIPS+ provisions).
- Actively support alternative means of coordination and financing of pharmaceuticals R&D, in particular for diseases prevalent in southern countries, thus enabling the dissociation of research costs from the final cost of the products. This would make them directly available, as public goods, at affordable prices, with no monopoly on production or sales.