UN Human Rights Council Adopts Resolution Promoting Medicines Access

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The United Nations Human Rights Council today adopted a resolution urging governments to encourage technology development and transfer and to apply intellectual property rights measures in ways that avoid creating barriers to trade in “affordable, safe, efficacious and quality medicines.” The resolution includes references to IP flexibilities in international trade law and to “delinkage” of R&D costs with the price of health products.

The resolution, A/HRC/23/L.10/Rev.1, is available here.

The vote was 31 in favour, 0 against and 16 abstentions, according to the UN.

Among its numerous provisions, the resolution reinforces countries’ right to use flexibilities to intellectual property rights as provided in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

It also encourages governments “To explore and promote a range of incentive schemes for research and development, including addressing, where appropriate, the delinkage of the costs of research and development and the price of health products, in accordance with the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property.”

Meanwhile, in a separate resolution, the Council reinforced the right to the enjoyment of cultural rights and respect for cultural diversity. In the discussion on the subject, the United States said intellectual property rights should be respected and states’ economic, social and cultural rights should be progressively realised, according to the UN. The resolution is A/HRC/23/L.20 (see far right for languages).

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