Following meetings between the Chinese Ministry of Health (MOH) and the World Health Organization Representative in China, the MOH requested WHO to provide technical assistance on cost-containment mechanisms for antiretrovirals (ARVs) and other essential medicines in China.
The MOH requested information in the following areas:
1. The range of cost-containment options for ARVs and other essential medicines that China might consider.
2. Lessons from other countries' experience in negotiating price discounts and voluntary licensing arrangements for ARVs and other essential medicines.
3. China's World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Agreement (TRIPS) compatible options to undertake compulsory licensing; and the modalities of how a compulsory licence might be issued in China.
Germán Velásquez, Coordinator of the Drug Action Programme within WHO’s Department of Essential Drugs & Medicines Policy, headed a three-person delegation that went to China, from 11 to 13 December 2002, for meetings with the MOH and other Chinese agencies. He was accompanied by Professor Carlos Correa of the University of Buenos Aires and Robert Weissman, an attorney practicing in Washington, D.C., who served as expert consultants on licensing and intellectual property issues.
This report contains a short summary of issues discussed during the mission in the area of cost-containment mechanisms and policies for access to essential medicines.