Health Assembly To Begin Talks On IP Resolutions Thursday Under Time Constraints25/05/2006 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.By Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen and William NewA technical committee of the World Health Assembly on 24 May decided to wait until the next day to set up a short-term working group on two draft intellectual property resolutions, which put in question whether the assembly will run out of time on these issues before it ends on Friday.The meeting is running behind schedule as the IP issues were to be discussed on 24 May if time permitted. But the meeting will take up substantive discussion of the IP resolutions listed under assembly agenda item 11.11 (on intellectual property) at the start of the meeting on 25 May, World Health Organization sources said. A decision on a short-term working group on the resolutions is expected to follow, possibly at midday, they said.The 22 to 27 May assembly may be extended until Saturday, 28 May, some sources suggested after the decision, also referring to the sudden and unexpected death of the World Health Organization Director General Lee Jong-wook on 22 May.The two resolutions are: EB117 R13 on a global framework for essential R&D for medicines, proposed by Brazil and Kenya; and a resolution based on the report from the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH), which is included in a report summarising the CIPIH report. The second resolution calls for a working group to develop a global plan of action. Some have suggested that the two resolutions be merged, several sources said (IPW, Public Health, 22 May 2006).Some have also suggested that a separate resolution on trade and health may be controversial, sources said. That resolution appears to be scheduled to come up on 25 May as well.The decision not to set up a working group on the IP resolutions was reached after a discussion involving a number of suggestions, and with the chair referring to the WHO secretariat a number of times for clarification.One non-governmental organisation participant said it appeared that most delegates did not follow the debate and were caught by surprise when the decision was reached.Among the suggestions was one from Bolivia to set up a committee working group to take the first look at the resolutions, referring to the number of brackets particularly in the Brazil-Kenya resolution.Some countries, among them Kenya, questioned whether this would save time as the committee working group would not have a mandate to make changes and the issue would still have to be discussed in plenary on 25 May.The WHO secretariat clarified that the working group would not have the power to produce any documents but could debate the issue.India then said that the working group should have the mandate to “reconcile the two resolutions” in order to be constructive.South American Health Ministers Decry Patents’ Impact On Essential Drugs AccessThe health ministers of 10 South American countries on 23 May issued a signed declaration highlighting the importance of accessing medicines and critical substances as a basic human right and a duty of governments, and blamed the global patent regime at least in part for public health problems.They said sizeable populations in the world lack access to these, and tied the growing burdens of diseases disproportionately affecting developing countries to the increased use of patents, especially with the enforcement of the 1994 World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Rights (TRIPS).The declaration was signed by the health ministers of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela on 23 May in Geneva.The ministers said significant increases in prices and direct costs to consumers, as well as in market prices, as a result of the patent system for necessary health products, according to the original Spanish-language version. They noted that the health problems in their countries particularly affect women and children.They also declared that their countries have adopted in legislation and other ways all of the flexibilities and safeguards allowed in the TRIPS agreement. They said a dialogue must be continued at the regional level to take actions to “guarantee the supremacy of the public good over commercial interests.”The declaration states the ministers’ commitment to promote flexibilities as agreed at the WTO, promote public awareness about the importance of implementing safeguards and flexibilities, strengthen cooperative initiatives especially on technology transfer, strategic alliances on science, technology and innovation, and forming technical assistance networks focused on intellectual property issues related to health.The group also called for the preservation of TRIPS flexibilities in bilateral and regional agreements, such as allowing exceptions to patenting rules for public health reasons, and avoiding the extension of patent protection to therapeutic methods, plants and animals.The declaration further called for health ministers to participate in trade negotiations, more training of health professionals in intellectual property rights continued international dialogue on the impact of patent protection, and encourage studies on medicine prices and the effect of the TRIPS agreement on public health in their countries in order to identify alternatives for promote innovation and technology transfer, permitting availability at accessible costs.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"Health Assembly To Begin Talks On IP Resolutions Thursday Under Time Constraints" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.