WHO: Fight Ebola Now, Solve Patent Issues Later

WHO Ebola Briefing - Sept 2014

The world and the global health community have been taken by surprise by the worst outbreak of Ebola so far. The World Health Organization today (5 September) said a vaccine could be available in November 2014 if proven safe. So far, according to the WHO, intellectual property issues have not acted as a barrier to accessing potential treatments and vaccines, and the focus for now is on emergency measures to find health solutions.

Review Of WIPO Programmes, Staff: Lisbon Agreement, Global Challenges, Geographic Diversity

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The World Intellectual Property Organization Program and Budget Committee is meeting this week to scrutinise the UN agency’s inner workings. At the meeting, the director general’s report on programme performance gave member countries the occasion to comment on WIPO’s various programmes. They also reviewed the annual human resources report. [Note: article corrected]

WIPO Members Work To Strengthen Oversight Of UN Agency

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World Intellectual Property Organization member governments are hard at work this week trying to improve auditing and oversight of the UN agency, coming after a successful year financially but a year of questions about governance and transparency. Proposed changes include a number of measures on conflicts of interest and investigations even at the highest levels of the organization.

WTO: Antigua Has New Idea For Gambling Case; Cuba Rails Against US Trademark

Gambling Flickr Alan Cleaver

In a longstanding World Trade Organization dispute about measures affecting the cross-border supply of gambling and betting services, Antigua and Barbuda has made a new proposal to the United States on a way to solve the issue of the US not complying with a WTO ruling it lost. And in a separate matter at the same WTO meeting last week, Cuba referred to the US failure to change a law barring a rum trademark in the context of railing against US policy of “economic suffocation” of the island nation.

Group Calls For ITU Constitution Amendment To Protect Right To Privacy

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A report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the right to privacy in the digital age has been lauded by a group of civil society organisations who also called states to curtail mass surveillance and for the ITU constitution to be amended.

Biosimilar Medicines Need Strong Regulation, IP Crucial For Innovation, Pharma Says

Biosimilar medicines might prove to be a new reservoir for innovation for the pharmaceutical industry. However, the complexity of their manufacture needs a stringent regulatory framework, according to the industry.

WHO Raises Its Voice To Underline Health Effects Of Climate Change

The World Health Organization this week is holding its first conference on health and climate change. The major objective of the conference is to raise awareness on the impact of climate change on health, according to the WHO, which said it aims to strengthen its voice in the debate.

Médecins Sans Frontières Warns About IP Inclusion In Asian FTA

The inclusion of intellectual property in the ongoing negotiations of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership between 16 countries, most of them Asian, is raising concerns about “TRIPS-plus” measures that could jeopardise generic drugs production in India, according to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Market Failure, Not IP, The Issue In Ebola Treatment Shortage, WHO Says

Faced with the worst outbreak of Ebola since its discovery some 40 years ago, the world is scrambling for treatments. A World Health Organization-convened panel of experts has decided it is ethical to use experimental treatments. Why is there no treatment available even after 40 years? Market failure, not intellectual property rights, says the WHO.