Remarks from floor at MDG conference at EP

Thank you Michael Cashman MEP for organizing this important event on the Millenium Development Goals.

As others have said we have to get as far as we can on the money we have, especially to provide more access to essential life-saving medicines.

Some important progress has been made. We now have a global fund with a patent pool and other mechanisms to supply affordable medicines to millions of people for a few major illnesses.

At the same time we must regret that the EU lacks policy coherence toward the MDGs. While its left hand works to reach the millineum goals by funding development programmes more than anyone, the right hand of the EU is pushing free trade agreements that extend the monopoly over medical patents, prolong the data exclusivity and impose tough border enforcement measures that all go beyond the legal demands of international law and that end up reducing the access to essential medicines.

We are also concerned about the position of the EU in the World Health Organization that either ignores or block most of the proposals of countries of on key proposals in favour of the access to medicines. The EU does not support proposals from southern countries in favour de-linking R and D costs from drug pricing, initiatives to modify the Intellectual Property regimes on essential drugs and global strategies to promote medical technology transfer to the South. What will the EU´s position be at the next World Health Assembly in late May?

We are still waiting for the EU to coordinate its left and right hands to work for the Millineum objectives on health.