WHO Meeting Forwards IP Resolution To May World Health Assembly28/04/2006 by Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)IP-Watch is a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You also have the opportunity to offer additional support to your subscription, or to donate.A committee representing the World Health Organization executive board today added more recommendations to a draft resolution based on a recent WHO intellectual property report, many of which were expressed by developing countries and Kenya in particular.Brazil also made some proposals to include language referring to flexibilities in international trade law that may be used to “promote medicines for all,” but the committee did not get to discuss them.The revised draft includes new proposals from the report which may arguably make it stronger and wider in scope than the first version, although many of them are in brackets, indicating that agreement has not yet been reached.The first draft resolution was developed by the WHO secretariat based on a report published by the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH) on 3 April (IPW, Public Health, 3 April 2006). It focused on one of the 50 recommendations from the report, a global plan of action on intellectual property and medicines.It was sent out to member states last week and today a group of two representatives from each of the WHO’s six regions met to discuss it (IPW, Public Health, 27 April 2006). A number of officials from other WHO member states also attended the meeting.The revised draft will now be forwarded for decision at the World Health Assembly, to be held on 22-27 May.The whole first part of the revised draft resolution, the preamble, is in brackets as this was not discussed at the meeting. The title now reads: “Draft resolution, Public health, innovation and intellectual property rights[: a plan of action].Among the changes were three proposals from Kenya to include further language from the CIPIH report. The following two were included, in brackets, both relating to the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) under “urges member states”:[“To take advantage of the flexibilities contained in the WTO TRIPS Agreement and recognized by the Doha Ministerial Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in order to protect public health,”] and [“To ensure that bilateral trade agreements do not seek to incorporate TRIPS-plus protection in ways that may reduce access to medicines in developing countries.”]The revised draft requests the director general “to establish an intergovernmental working group to develop a global strategy and plan of action.” The 12 member countries agreed on this, although whether it should be “open-ended” or be “representative of the six WHO regions” is still to be decided.The working group is supposed to work on the recommendations of the report and in particular focus on “ways of addressing diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries.”The third proposal from Kenya relates to another request to the director general, namely to report to the 60th WHA on progress on the global strategy and plan of action, and to submit the final version of such a plan to the 61st WHA. The WHA in May is will be the 59th.Finally, the director general is requested to “publish a periodic update of a public health-based research and development report for pharmaceuticals.”Attached to the revised draft resolution are the proposals from Brazil. One refers to a WTO ministerial text saying that the TRIPS agreement “should not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health.” The second proposal refers to TRIPS language on the importance of a balance of rights and obligations, and in the third, Brazil proposes to start consultations on a “framework convention on research and development and innovation on public health.”The ProcessParticipants said there had been “a lot of arguing about whether there should be a comma” or not, as the changes were directly entered into a big screen track record, one developing country official said.But a developed country official said that the whole point of this meeting was to “get everything on the table and now people can go home and think about it before the WHA.” It was also useful to get a “sense of where people are,” the official said.Ruth Dreifuss, who was chair of the CIPIH, told Intellectual Property Watch that the commission had now completed its work and the work on the resolution was now in the hands of the member states.She said the report had received “a very positive reaction in general,” but on the part of recommendations, there were some delegates who had expressed disappointment. She said the report identified areas where action was needed, but some delegates would have liked to see more on what kind of action should be taken.But Dreifuss also said that the report did contain specific proposals as well, such as the one on TRIPS flexibilities, which Kenya had suggested to include in the resolution.The Spirit of Brazil-Kenya ResolutionA resolution on a global framework on essential health research and development which was presented by Brazil and Kenya at the WHO executive board meeting in January and forwarded to the WHA was not discussed, according to participants (IPW, Public Health, 28 January 2006).A Kenyan official told Intellectual Property Watch that the two resolutions were not necessarily overlapping as the Brazil-Kenya resolution was more specific than the CIPIH resolution and was a “sub” resolution. But whatever happened to the two resolutions at the WHA, Kenya just wanted that “the spirit of our resolution” would survive, he said.EU Approval of TRIPS AmendmentSeparately, on 27 April the European Union joined countries such as India and Canada in changing their intellectual property law to bring it into line with the TRIPS amendment from 6 December 2005 on export of generic medicines to countries without adequate production facilities. “Member States will now transpose these changes into national law,” an EU spokesperson told Intellectual Property Watch.“The European Commission recommended that member states approve the ratification of the TRIPS amendment itself – which they are expected to do within the next month,” he said. “This is a clear signal that Europe intends to ratify the amendment itself.”WHO Draft ResolutionProposal by BrazilShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"WHO Meeting Forwards IP Resolution To May World Health Assembly" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.