There is still a great deal to be done to improve the poorest people's access to essential medicines. Health care providers and consumers in the poorest countries need the lowest possible prices to make essential medicines affordable to all. The challenge for the international community, research-based companies, and generic pharmaceutical producers is to achieve this on a sustainable basis.
In 2002, the European Commission presented to the WTO a document concerning the countries with insufficient manufacturing capacity in the pharmaceutical sector, also proposing that WTO to create an exception in the Trade-related intellectual property rights (TRIPS) Agreement. The idea is not to eliminate the protection of intellectual property. It is rather to allow members to export to developing countries, without quantitative limits, pharmaceutical products produced under compulsory licence, thus allowing countries without production capacity to call on other countries to import the necessary pharmaceutical products.
WHO and the EU agree that WTO members need to find a sustainable, balanced, and workable solution for these countries. The solution should be applicable in the shortest possible time. The solution should also be supportive of WTO Members' right to protect public health and to promote access to medicines for all. The EU and WHO will continue to analyse the effects of abolishing tariffs and taxes on medicines imported into developing countries.