Author: Thiru Balasubramaniam

WHO/WIPO/WTO Trilateral Report: Human Rights, De-Linkage and the R&D Treaty

[Reposted from keionline.org] As mentioned in a previous piece, the trilateral report by the secretariats of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade, covers a lot of ground including but not limited to: 1) the global burden of disease and global health risks, 2) health and human rights, 3) access to essential medicines: an indicator for the fulfillment of the right to health, 4) public health, innovation and access in the WHO, 5) intellectual property systems, 6) competition policy, 7) free trade agreements, 8) the current R&D landscape, 9) new approaches to innovation for neglected diseases, 10) WHO Expert Groups on R&D Financing, 11) generic medicines policies, price controls and reference pricing, 12) pre-grant and post-grant review procedures and 13) review of IP provisions in recent FTAs. At the launch of the report, a Geneva-based diplomat drew KEI’s attention to the report’s treatment of human rights, particularly in the context of the right to health. The diplomat noted that the report’s references to the obligations to safeguard the right to health in the context of public health and trade rules would have been unthinkable 10 years ago. This pieces endeavors to contextualize the report’s treatment of human rights within WHO discussions on de-linkage and...

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WHO/WIPO/WTO report on Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Article 39.3 and the cost-sharing approach

[Reposted from keionline.org]  On Tuesday, 5 February 2013, the Secretariats of the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) released their joint publication, Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade. This 251-page report covers a lot of ground. In the words of secretariats, “The book’s focus is on advancing medical and health technologies (“innovation”) and ensuring they reach the people who need them (“accessibility”). A huge amount of analytical and factual material is available on access to medicines and other medical technologies, and on innovation. Here, it is brought together in one concise volume.” This piece seeks to highlight the trilateral report’s treatment (pages 63-66, 75) of Article 39.3 of the TRIPS Agreement which is detailed in Chapter II(B)(1). Chapter II is titled “The policy context for action on innovation and access, and section B(1) deals with “intellectual property systems”. In particular, the report emphasizes that data exclusivity is not a requirement of the TRIPS Agreement, and briefly discusses the concept of cost-sharing as an alternative approach to implementing Article 39.3. Article 39. 3 of the TRIPS Agreement reads as follows: 3. Members, when requiring, as a condition of approving the marketing of pharmaceutical or of agricultural chemical products which utilize new chemical entities, the submission of undisclosed test or other data,...

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WTO Trade Policy Review of Israel covers new developments on fair use, data exclusivity and parallel importation

[Reposted from kieonline.org] The World Trade Organization (WTO) held its fourth review of Israel’s trade policies and practices on 30 October 2012 and 1 November 2012. The review is based upon a report by the WTO Secretariat (WT/TPR/S/272) and a report by Israel (WT/TPR/G/272). According to the WTO, the minutes of the meeting and the questions and answers will be made available by the Secretariat in 6 weeks. The current chair of the Trade Policy Review Body (TPRB), Ambassador Eduardo Munoz Gomez (Colombia) highlighted agriculture, market access, contingency trade remedies, and incentives as issues meriting “further attention and reflection by the Israeli authorities, while we have taken note of the detailed comments by Israel this morning” (Source: Concluding remarks by Chairperson, http://wto.org/english/tratop_e/tpr_e/tp372_crc_e.htm). Specifically, on intellectual property, the Chair noted that “Members took note of the significant developments in the area of intellectual property. However, a number of questions and remaining concerns over intellectual property protection were raised, particularly regarding patents, copyright, and enforcement”. Although the questions and answers raised during Israel’s Trade Policy Review (TPR) will not be made available till 6 weeks after 1 November 2012, a closer examination of the reports prepared by the Secretariat and Israel, respectively, may provide further insight into Israel’s TPR in relation to intellectual property questions. In the section on the TRIPS Agreement, the Secretariat report (WT/TPR/S/272) commences by highlighting an agreement...

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