Index: Pharma Industry Improves On Access To Medicines, Needs Work On Ethics, Patent Disclosure

2014 Access to Medicine Index image

The 2014 edition of an independent ranking of leading pharmaceutical companies’ efforts to help developing countries released today found new initiatives undertaken in the past two years. But it said corruption and insufficient disclosure of existing patents continue to plague the industry.

US IP Industry Meeting With Indian Judges A “Ruse”, Activists Say

Flickr -  hitthatswitch

Public health activists and others have been watching closely in recent months as United States government and industry officials meet steadily and intensively with Indian counterparts to press change in that country’s intellectual property policy toward greater protection and recognition of western IP rights. A particular area of concern has been in pharmaceuticals, as India is said to be the world’s top supplier of affordable generic versions of drugs under patent that otherwise would be out of reach for millions of poor patients. Several activists have raised alarm over a meeting this week of US IP industry representatives with top judges in India.

WHO Influenza Preparedness Report Shows Companies Not Fulfilling Obligations

Influenza Virus - Flickr - Sanofi Pasteur

The World Health Organization Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Framework is at risk due to some companies not fulfilling their obligations, a new WHO report says.

African IP Body Steps Up Regional Effort To Adopt Plant Protection Protocol

Sorghum - Flickr -  Cyndy Sims Parr

The African Regional Intellectual Property Organization (ARIPO), with the help of the United States and an international plant variety organisation, is working to grow regional support for a controversial draft law. The draft protocol would boost protection for new plant varieties, despite concerns of local civil society that it would not be in the best interest of ARIPO members’ food security due to its potential impact on small farmers. ARIPO held a regional workshop on the issue in recent weeks in part to build support for a treaty negotiation to lock in these protections.

Global Differences On Patents Lead WIPO Patent Law Committee To Stumble On Future Work

WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents

Once again, differences over the role of a World Intellectual Property Organization committee last week came in the way of consensus and prevented delegates from agreeing on future work. At the heart of the discontent was the perceived imbalance of the proposed programme of work, which some said disregarded the interests of developing countries. A speaker for the African region gave a striking speech on the Ebola crisis as an example of the failure of the patent system.

Expect Strong IP Push From Global Pharma Industry Next Year; WHO Prescribes Dose Of Reality

Medicines - FLickr - Nina Matthews

NEW YORK – Strong intellectual property rights will be a top priority for the pharmaceutical industry internationally in the coming year and arguments over IPRs versus medicines access are false, a top representative said at a high-level industry event this week. But views at the event differed on expectations of industry in light of the Ebola crisis, hepatitis C drug costs or other medicines access questions.

WHO Ebola Vaccine Meeting Draws Commitment From Pharma, Donors; MSF Sees Need For Concrete Actions

Ebola Vaccine - Flickr - NIAID

A high-level meeting convened by the World Health Organization yesterday on the issue of access to and financing of Ebola vaccines resulted in a set of commitments, though not with sufficient urgency for those working on the ground. The pharmaceutical industry committed to scale up production, while donors pledged funds without disclosing how deep their pockets might be.

This Week’s Vote Will Show Who Finnish MPs Listen To On Copyright, EFFi Says

Lex-Karpela

On 24 October, the Finnish Parliament is expected to vote on the Citizens’ Initiative for Common Sense for Copyright Act, which aims to make Finnish copyright law more user-oriented. But with a proposal to gut the Act, a counter-proposal to save it, and unprecedented lobbying expected, the next two days should be interesting, writes Electronic Frontier Finland.

Ebola Vaccine Candidates Centre Of Attention; Clinical Trials, IP Negotiations Start

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Today, the World Health Organization gave a press briefing to update journalists on what to expect in the near future on Ebola treatments and vaccines.

Review of “Digital Depression: Information Technology And Economic Crisis”

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Information and communication technologies (ICTs), and in particular the internet, have revolutionized and disrupted all aspects of human activity, and even behaviour. This has resulted in many academic publications and much discussion, including in intergovernmental bodies, regarding various issues, including how best to govern the internet.

Dan Schiller’s book helps us to understand the background of these events, which have affected economic and political power relations, and how US policies have consistently favoured capital over labour, and have resulted in transfers of vast sums from developing countries to developed countries, writes Richard Hill.