Kenyan R&D Proposal Possibly Among IP Issues For WHO Board17/01/2006 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 depends on subscriptions. To access all of our content, please subscribe now. You may also offer additional support with your subscription, or donate.Kenya has submitted a proposal for a new global framework for research and development to the World Health Organisation Executive Board, but procedural issues may prevent it from being included on the agenda of the board’s 23-28 January meeting, according to sources.The Kenyan proposal is one of several intellectual property issues that could come up at the meeting, the board’s 117th session. Others include progress of the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH), which was supposed to present the board with a report (IPW, United Nations, 13 January 2006); and possibly the issue of strengthening pandemic influenza preparedness and response, a participating government official said.Finally, the board will address a draft resolution led by Thailand urging governments to adopt national policies on international trade and health (IPW, UN, 27 May 2005), according to the provisional agenda.The trade and health draft resolution was discussed at the last board meeting in May 2005, but a decision was postponed after 15 countries proposed amendments. Some 18 countries have supported it, however, a source said.On 1 December, the WHO secretariat published a report entitled, “International Trade and Health: Draft Resolution,” based on the Thai proposal. It includes a number of proposed amendments.One proposed amendment, for example, would call for ministers of foreign affairs to be among colleagues with whom ministers of health need to work “constructively, in order to ensure that the interests of trade and health are appropriately balanced,” according to the report. The previous draft mentioned the ministries of trade, commerce and finance.Another amendment urges member states to “establish national coordination mechanisms involving ministries of finance, health, and trade, as well as other relevant institutions, to address public health-related aspects of international trade.” A source said it was aimed at building capacity at a national level for ministers of health to better advise their ministers of trade.Still another proposal urges member states to consider adopting policies, laws and regulations to “mitigate the potential risks [impacts] that trade and trade agreements may have for health.” The word “impacts” would replace “risks,” as countries such as Australia have taken issue with it, according to a source.The upcoming board meeting could indicate how strongly the WHO would respond to trade and intellectual property rights issues, as at the moment the WHO has no clear direction in this regard, the source said.Kenyan Proposal Struggles to Make the AgendaOn 16 November 2005, Kenya asked the WHO Executive Board to discuss a proposed resolution on a “Global Framework on Essential Health Research and Development” at its January meeting. Kenya later provided the WHO with a background document explaining the resolution.According to a copy of the document obtained by Intellectual Property Watch, Kenya urges member states to develop a new global framework for R&D to respond to patients’ needs, particularly those in poor countries.But the proposal has not yet been circulated. What is holding it up, according to Cecilia Rose-Oduyemi, a WHO external relations officer, is that when proposing the resolution, Kenya failed to indicate clearly under which board agenda item it should go, and it missed the deadline for introducing a new agenda item for the meeting. Kenya now has to resubmit the resolution, indicating which agenda item it falls under, Rose-Oduyemi said, adding that Kenya should have done this last week.Another WHO representative said Monday that the Kenyan member of the executive board had not submitted a resolution to the board, and if he did so, it would be circulated after the agenda was adopted.A source familiar with the case said, however, said that the WHO had appeared to be “very legalistic” and “not terribly helpful” in this case. At press time, Kenya was not available for comment.On 6 January, 30 international non-governmental organisations and individuals, including US Congress Representative Bernard Sanders, Independent, Vermont, sent a letter to WHO Director General Lee Jong-Wook and chairman of the board meeting M.N. Khan enquiring about how the resolution would be discussed at the board meeting, under which agenda item, and what the WHO had done to circulate it, according to the letter.In the resolution, Kenya requests the director general to, first, “Establish a working group of interested member states to consider proposals to establish a global framework for supporting needs-driven research, consistent with appropriate public interest issues,” and second, “To submit a progress report of the working group of interested member states to the sixtieth World Health Assembly (May 2008) and a final report with concrete proposals to the executive board at its 121st session (January 2009).”The resolution also urges member states to “make global health and medicines a strategic sector and take determined action to direct R&D priorities according to the needs of the patients, especially those in resource-poor settings.”Moreover, it urges them to “take an active part, together with the WHO and other international actors, in the development and establishment of a global framework for defining global health priorities,” and to “ensure that progress in basic science and biomedicine is translated into improved, safe and affordable health products.”The Kenyan proposal is a government initiative, but it reflects similar proposals from the non-governmental community to the WHO, sources say.Nicoletta Dentico of the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative said that the Kenyan proposal was a “rather ecumenical resolution,” asking the WHO to recover its role in terms of essential health innovation.“The resolution calls for a varied system to produce R&D. It does not exclude intellectual property but includes open source and other collaborative models with developing countries,” Dentico said.Separately, “WHO’s role and responsibilities in health research,” could be discussed, according to the preliminary programme.The 32-member Executive Board meets twice a year; it has a main meeting in January and then meets briefly immediately following the World Health Assembly. It has between one and seven representatives per region (Scandinavia one representative, for example, and Europe seven), an official said. A preliminary daily timetable of the board meeting has been posted online.Share 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"Kenyan R&D Proposal Possibly Among IP Issues For WHO Board" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.