TRIPS In Question During Social Forum Discussion On Access To Medicines

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Intellectual property rights are hindering access to medicines by maintaining monopolies and high prices, according to speakers at an annual United Nations forum on human rights last week. Flexibilities enshrined in the World Trade Organization intellectual property agreement are hampered by political and economical pressure, they said, and a new system should be devised for pharmaceutical products.

At WTO Next Week: GI Register, Plain Packaging, Women In Innovation

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The next meeting of the World Trade Organization intellectual property committee is expected to include discussions on women and innovation, and concerns about legislative efforts in the United Kingdom and Ireland to introduce plan packaging for tobacco products. Prior to the meeting, informal consultations will be held on the negotiating issue of an international register for geographical indications (GIs) for wines and spirits.

The Year In Biotech/Biodiversity: Patentability, Plant Varieties, Treaty Implementation

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Intellectual property-related developments expected this year could profoundly impact the fields of biotechnology and biodiversity. In addition, ongoing issues relating to plant variety protection and public health are expected to be at the forefront of discussions this year. The following is a look at many of the top issues to come.

Year Ahead: Key IP-Related Issues, Dates At The WTO In 2015

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This year is shaping up to be a busy one for the World Trade Organization, and intellectual property issues are among those coming up.

US Challenges For Biotech In 2015 – An Interview With BIO’s Hans Sauer

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The biotechnology industry is closely watching developments in the United States that could impact the industry in 2015. These include the regulatory framework for biosimilars, possible patent legislation, post-grant review procedure, and the consequences of the recent Supreme Court ruling banning the patenting of human genes. Hans Sauer, Deputy General Counsel for Intellectual Property at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), recently spoke with Intellectual Property Watch’s Catherine Saez. Sauer was asked to lay out the main developments to watch in the coming year.

Questions About Funding, Text Of Tufts Study On Drug Costs

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The Union for Affordable Cancer Treatment has sent a letter to the author of a much-noted Tufts University (US) study that found high development costs for medicines, with copies to the university administration. The letter requests transparency on the funding of the study and the press conference announcing the results, as well as copies of the study itself, which the group says was not made public, along with details to justify the result.

WHO Board Recommends Extension Of Plan For Health Innovation, IP

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The World Health Organization Executive Board this week recommended the extension of an important strategy and plan of action on health, IP and innovation. It also set out steps to resolve questions over evaluation and review of the strategy and plan of action before the annual World Health Assembly in May.

WHO Sets Path For Completing Rules Of Engagement With Industry, Foundations

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The World Health Organization Executive Board has set a way forward from now to the annual May World Health Assembly for addressing the sensitive issue of drafting a framework for engagement with “non-state actors,” such as industry, foundations, academics and other non-governmental stakeholders.

WHO Still Finding Its Way On Financing R&D For Diseases Affecting Poor Countries

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In search of sustainable innovation models for cures for diseases affecting primarily developing countries, with the Ebola epidemic as a new reminder of the necessity and urgency of the matter, the World Health Organization had tasked an expert working group with the search for solutions. Last week, the WHO Executive Board took note of the progress made so far.

Special Report: Will India Bend To US Pressure On IP Rights?

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It is no secret that the United States has been scaling up pressure on India to adopt intellectual property measures similar to those common in the United States and the European Union. But to what extent does India’s new government led by the business-friendly Narendra Modi see eye to eye with US official position? Can India, the “pharmacy of the world”, resolve the friction between pharmaceutical patents and access to affordable medicines without putting off foreign investors? The vitriolic and polarising debate surrounding these questions has got a fresh lease of life following US President Barack Obama’s landmark three-day visit to India this week.

While Indian and American business moguls are bullish about the future, Indian generic drug-makers as well as health activists within and outside India are deeply anxious about the shape of things to come