Feb 022017

[Reposted from the Third World Network, Link] The forthcoming 70th World Health Assembly (WHA) will discuss access to medicines including the United Nations Secretary General’s High Level Panel Report on Access to Medicines (UNHLP report).

The inclusion of this agenda item has been a topic for debate and the 140th meeting of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO) finally agreed to accordingly amend an existing agenda item on shortage of medicines of the 70th WHA that will convene in May this year. Continue reading »

Nov 302016

who-logo[Third World Network, Link] The World Health Organization (WHO) Member State Mechanism (MSM) on substandard/spurious/falsely-labelled /falsified/counterfeit medical products (SSFFC) has agreed to recommend to the World Health Assembly (WHA) to drop the term “counterfeit” to refer to quality-compromised medical products. This decision was taken by the MSM in the context of refining the SSFFC definitions utilized by WHO, during its fifth meeting here on 23-25 November.

This historic agreement follows years of often-intense dispute among WHO member states as to the appropriate terminologies that should be utilized to refer to unsafe medical products circulated by unscrupulous actors. Continue reading »

Nov 042015

TWNlogo_000[Reposted from the Third World Network, Link] The United States and the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) at the World Trade Organization have reached agreement ad referendum on a pharmaceutical patent exemption for a duration of 17 years, according to trade diplomats.

With this exemption, the world’s poorest nations will not be obliged “to implement or apply” or “to enforce” patents as well as test data protection for pharmaceutical products until 1 January 2033. Continue reading »


US Stands in the Way of LDCs’ Pharmaceutical Transition Period

 Posted by on October 16, 2015  Comments Off on US Stands in the Way of LDCs’ Pharmaceutical Transition Period
Oct 162015

wto-logo[Cross posted from the TWN Info Service on Intellectual Property Issues, Link] As the World Trade Organization’s intellectual property body begins its session today, there is emerging consensus among the organization’s members that the poorest nations in the world, the least developed countries (LDCs), should not have to apply or enforce pharmaceutical product patents or to implement ‘mailbox’ or exclusive marketing rights for as long as they remain LDCs.

The WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights Agreement (TRIPS) Council is meeting in Geneva on 15-16 October.

However, whether or not these vulnerable nations will clinch their desired demands very much depends on the United States, which remains opposed to LDCs’ requests. Continue reading »

Nov 242014

South_Centre_Logo_New_EnglishResearch Paper 56. South Centre.

Executive Summary: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) suffers from numerous communicable and non-communicable diseases, with significant socio-economic effects, and adversely impacting the development prospects of countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Many of these diseases are treatable but access to affordable medicines remains a huge challenge in the region. A particular obstacle to access to medicines is the high, prohibitive costs of medicines enabled by the existence of patents. Patents grant the right holder a monopoly on the patented pharmaceutical for at least 20 years from the date of filing of the patent application, thereby curtailing competition by giving the patent holder freedom to set prices, which in many instances is simply unaffordable to persons who need the medicines. Continue reading »

Jun 252013

Joint Statement by 26 NGOs, June 21, 2013 [PDF]

On 11th June 2013, the WTO TRIPS Council took a decision (IP/C/64) to extend for a further 8 years, the flexibility of least developed country (LDC) Members under Article 66.1 to not apply the provisions of the TRIPS[1] Agreement except for Articles 3, 4 and 5 (which concern national treatment and most-favored nation treatment). This decision was taken in response to the “duly motivated request” submitted by Haiti on behalf of the LDC Group last November, seeking an unconditional extension for as long as a WTO Member remains a LDC.   Continue reading »

May 292013

TWNlogo_000An investigation conducted by Edward Hammond, consultant researcher of Third World Network, has revealed that a leading medical centre in The Netherlands is using a material transfer agreement (MTA) that claims proprietary rights over the Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, contrary to their public denial of placing restrictions on the virus. Continue reading »


US and EU Demand TRIPS-Plus Concession from Poorest Countries

 Posted by on April 30, 2013  Comments Off on US and EU Demand TRIPS-Plus Concession from Poorest Countries
Apr 302013

wto-logoDeveloped countries, particularly the United States and the European Union, have offered a poor and impractical deal of an incredibly short extension of 5 years with restrictive conditions to least developed countries that are entitled to be exempted from implementing the WTO TRIPS Agreement.

Particularly problematic is their demand that the LDCs agree to a “no-roll-back” clause, a TRIPS plus condition that will prevent LDCs from rolling back  (i.e. providing a reduced degree of IP protection) their current laws, even if they adversely impact their development concerns. Continue reading »

Apr 032013

sadcCivil society organisations from the SADC region, and around the world have condemned the SADC draft Protocol for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (Plant Breeders’ Rights) as spelling disaster for small farmers and food security in the region. These groups, representing millions of farmers in Africa and around the world have submitted their concerns to the SADC Secretariat. They are calling for the rejection of the Protocol and urgent consultations with farmers, farmer movements and civil society before it’s too late. Continue reading »

Feb 262013

wto-logoAttached here is a letter from hundreds of civil society groups (representing millions of people worldwide) to members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) urging them to support the request and draft decision text proposed by the Least developed Countries (LDCs) to the WTO on extending the waiver that exempts LDCs from implementing the WTO-TRIPS agreement until they “graduate” from LDC status.

A lot is at stake for LDCs as TRIPS rules undermine human rights,development and health in developing countries. LDCs being the most vulnerable community should not be required to provide and maintain monopolies on essential goods. Continue reading »

Dec 022011

The letter below was sent to Mr. Francis Gurry on 30th November 2011. The contents were also communicated during the Advisory Committee on Enforcement that met on 30th November to 1st December 2011.

Sangeeta Shashikant
Third World Network


29th November 2011

Mr. Francis Gurry
Director General
World Intellectual Property Organization

Intellectual Property Enforcement activities in WIPO

Today it is widely known that proponents of a “maximalist agenda” on intellectual property (made up of OECD businesses and governments) are on a campaign to increase IP protection and enforcement far beyond the minimum standards of the TRIPS Agreements in ways that are “TRIPS-Plus-Plus”.[1] However such an approach disregards the development dimension, undermines public interests and compromises fundamental human rights such freedom of expression over the internet.[2] Continue reading »