Submission: The Government of Japan
The Government of Japan would like to reiterate its appreciation for the efforts made by the High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines.
This year, Japan will host or co-organize a sequence of events significant to the issue of global health. These include the G7 Ise Shima Summit and the G7 Kobe Health Ministers’ Meeting, as well as the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICADVI), to be held for the first time in Africa and where health is obviously one of the essential items on the agenda. As always, Japan is determined to make significant contributions to global health, and we look forward to receiving the Panel’s report.
Japan submits the following basic comments:
1) Japan believes that there are several aspects to ensuring access to medicines, and notes that this issue has been discussed at other fora. Therefore, Japan would like to ask the HLP to consider the existing activities or mechanisms of relevant UN agencies, such as WHO, WIPO, WTO and the UN Commission on Human Rights.
2) Japan requests the HLP to continue to hold open and transparent dialogues with the Member States as this issue is very important for most Member States and their opinions seem to be diverse.
3) HLP members and Advisory Board Members should be composed such that this issue can be appropriately discussed from various perspectives.
4) Japan attaches particular importance to health systems strengthening as a means to ultimately achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC). As strengthening health systems, including supply chains, contributes to improving access to medicines, its importance should be emphasized more strongly.
5) How to effectively supply generic medicines is also a very important question, as most basic medicines are already available as generics.
6) Research and Development (R&D) are also very important. Japan agrees that market mechanisms alone are sometimes inadequate to supply medicines for certain neglected diseases. Based on this understanding, Japan established the GHIT fund in 2013 to promote the R&D of medicines which are not already supplied by market mechanisms and can in some cases even provide royalty free production licenses to LDCs. As such, effective public-partnership mechanisms should be considered.
7) There are other important elements to be considered as well, including education and capacity building.
8) Lastly, appropriately protecting intellectual property is very important for the promotion of innovation and R&D. We have to maintain a good balance of intellectual property and increased access.