Sep 222016
 

ifla-eblidaJoint statement by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions and the European Bureau of Library, Information and Documentation Associations, Link (CC-BY)

As we enter the final days of the countdown to the entry into force of the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty for Visually Impaired Persons, there is cause for some optimism in Europe.

The European Commission has published draft legislation that will establish a clear right for individuals and ‘authorised entities’ such as libraries to make accessible copies of books for visually impaired people and those with other reading disabilities. Moreover, it opens the way to the sharing of such copies, not only within and between the EU’s Member States, but also globally. Continue reading »

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Sep 142016
 

UN High Level Report CoverExecutive Summary and Recommendations are below,
Click here for the full report

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 

In September 2015, 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda). This agenda includes Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 that aims to ensure healthy lives and promote the wellbeing of all people of all ages. SDG 3 is an important vehicle for realizing the right to health and the right to share in the benefits of scientific advancements, whose affirmation dates back to the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) (1948). These rights are also enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966) and various other international treaties, declarations and national laws, including at least 115 constitutions.  Continue reading »

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Sep 022016
 

ifla-logoInternational Federation of Library Associations, Link (CC-BY)

The signing of the Treaty of Marrakesh in 2013 was a first step towards providing access to knowledge for some of the most vulnerable in society. It offers a response to the book famine that people with print disabilities have long faced. However, IFLA is concerned that when ratifying the Treaty, some countries risk introducing new barriers to access. This is completely contrary to the spirit of Marrakesh.  Continue reading »

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Aug 232016
 
(cc) rakka

(cc) rakka

[Marcus Low, Business Day, Link] It is often argued that weakening patent monopolies on pharmaceuticals will lead to fewer new medicines being discovered. Whether this is indeed the case, and to what extent, is one of the key questions that must be addressed by a UN high-level panel convened to consider the “policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, global human rights law, trade rules and public health”.

One of the difficulties faced by the panel, and by any policy maker, is the lack of transparency in relation to drug development. Firms generally disclose little detail about what they spend on research and development (R&D) for new medicines.

Click here for the full op-ed in Business Day Live

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Aug 152016
 

wipo logoChina joins the ranks of the world’s 25 most-innovative economies, while Switzerland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Finland and Singapore lead the 2016 rankings in the Global Innovation Index, released today by Cornell University, INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

China’s top-25 entry marks the first time a middle-income country has joined the highly developed economies that have historically dominated the top of the Global Innovation Index (GII) throughout its nine years of surveying the innovative capacity of 100-plus countries across the globe. China’s progression reflects the country’s improved innovation performance as well as methodological considerations such as improved innovation metrics in the GII. Continue reading »

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Jul 242016
 
(cc) - Rakka

(cc-by-nc-nd) – Rakka

Letter from 56 Non-profit Organizations and Academic Experts to Secretary Kerry Regarding State Department Pressure Against Access to Medicines Efforts [PDF]

July 20, 2016

Dear Secretary Kerry: We are writing to express our concern about recent statements made by representatives of the State Department on issues regarding intellectual property (IP) and access to medicines in various settings, including proceedings in Colombia, several important United Nations fora, and in India. Continue reading »

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Jul 202016
 

Thank you 1STOP AIDS Press Release
Contact: Diarmaid@stopaids.org.uk
July 19, 2016, Durban

At the 2016 International AIDS Conference held in Durban, South Africa, treatment access advocates presented a huge greeting card addressed to President Obama from Big Pharma to US Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, thanking the US government for “doing big pharma’s bidding all over the world”.

The activists, acting in the role of Big Pharma execs, sang “we want to thank you, thank you” and chanted “USA! USA!” They lavished praise on the Ambassador for the US pursuit of the interests of the pharmaceutical industry at the expense of access to affordable medicines, including pressuring India to curtail its legal generic medicine industry, and attacks on an initiative of the UN Secretary General to address access to medicine challenges. Continue reading »

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Jul 142016
 

tHoen coverThe following is an excerpt from the introduction to Private Patents and Public Health, by Ellen ‘t Hoen.  The full book is available online under a Creative Commons License here.

Millions of people around the world do not have access to the medicines they need to treat disease or alleviate suffering. Strict patent regimes interfere with widespread access to medicines by creating monopolies that maintain medicines prices well beyond the reach of those who need them.

The magnitude of the AIDS crisis in the late nineties brought this to the public’s attention when millions of people in developing countries died from an illness for which medicines existed, but were not available or affordable. Faced with an unprecedented health crisis—8,000 people dying daily—the public health community launched an unprecedented global effort that eventually resulted in the large-scale availability of quality generic HIV medicines and a steady scale-up in access to those medicines. This has allowed nearly 13 million people to lead longer, healthier lives. However, trends in international intellectual property law could impact many of the policy tools used to scale up HIV treatment. Continue reading »

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Jul 052016
 

wipo logoWIPO Press Release, Link
Geneva, June 30, 2016
PR/2016/792

Canada today became the key 20th nation to accede to the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled, which will bring the Treaty into force in three month’s time on September 30, 2016. Continue reading »

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Jul 032016
 

ipw-logo[Catherine Saez, IP Watch, Link (CC-BY-NC-SA)] A resolution on access to medicines proposed by a number of developing countries was adopted today by the United Nations Human Rights Council, as well as a resolution on enhancing capacity-building in public health. This marks yet another United Nations fora in which developing countries seek to raise the issue of access to medicines, particularly with regard to high prices. Continue reading »

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Jun 202016
 

ictsd-160pxThe WTO’s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council discussed the topic of e-commerce last week for the first time since 2003, sources said, during a 7-8 June meeting in Geneva. Other topics on the meeting’s agenda included sustainable resources and low emission technology strategies, and the perennial issues of non-violation complaints and the relationship between the TRIPS agreement and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). In addition, the EU presented its new Trade Mark Directive and Trade Mark Regulation, which raised concerns with some members over possible restrictions on the transport of generic medicines through the 28-nation bloc’s borders.

Click here for the full story on ictsd.org.

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May 162016
 

sean - 150x150I am speaking on behalf of the American University Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property. And I speak as an educator myself and also on behalf of a larger network that I coordinate called the Global Expert Network on User Rights which is a network of educators.

Although I teach in a Northern school in Washington, D.C., I also spent some time teaching in a major university in South Africa where the context of access to educational materials is very different. When I taught an advanced constitutional class there of 70 students, only about five or six of the students could purchase the learning materials, the textbooks we were using for that class. The rest of them after each day would huddle in the library and attempt to share and read the copies that were on reserve in that space. And that’s the reality around much of the world – text books are priced similarly in poor countries and rich countries, but because of the disparities in income, students in poor countries cannot afford their learning texts. Continue reading »

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