Newcomer Howard Zucker, Former US Official, To Head WHO IP Group19/09/2006 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 Speculation since May about who will lead the secretariat in a new intergovernmental working group on intellectual property and public health at the World Health Organization may now be put to rest as it is official that the post will go to Howard Zucker, WHO sources say.Zucker is the assistant director general for health technology and pharmaceuticals at the WHO, and he will remain in this position in the future, according to a WHO spokesperson. He joined the WHO in January 2006 from the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), where he was assistant secretary of health.He has previously shown support for innovation to help developing countries obtain access to essential medicines, and is the head of a WHO task force on counterfeit medicines.Second to Zucker and executive secretary of group will be Elil Renganathan, who was most recently director for the WHO Mediterranean Centre for Vulnerability Reduction in Tunis, Tunisia. He is from Malaysia.Zucker was unavailable for comment at press time as he is attending the regional WHO committee meeting for the Western Pacific in Auckland, New Zealand, and will thereafter attend the regional WHO meeting for the Americas in Washington, DC, an informed WHO source said.The WHO regional committee meetings run from 22 August to 29 September, according to the WHO, and the Washington meeting will be the last one in a series of six regional committee meetings.The WHO has previously indicated that the regional committees could choose two governments that would present candidates for a “management group” when the IP group is scheduled to meet for the first time on 4 December in Geneva (IPW, Public Health, 25 July 2006). [Editor’s Note: To what extent the regional committee meetings are addressing the IP group could not be confirmed by press time.]Renganathan relocated to Geneva last month, a source in Tunisia said, but he was also unavailable for comment at press time.The counterfeit medicines task force led by Zucker was initiated at a Rome conference in February. At a meeting at the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations in Geneva on 24 May, Zucker said, “Individual patients and public health are of course WHO’s main concern, but we know very well that they are not the only casualties. Counterfeit drugs lead to a loss of confidence in the entire health system, they affect the image of manufacturers, pharmacists, doctors, private and government institutions alike. This is why each and every sector affected must be actively involved in the solution.”In 2004, The Hill newspaper in Washington, DC reported that Zucker was blocked by the White House from a promotion at HHS because he had donated money to the competing Democratic Party (even though he also gave to Bush’s Republican Party).The working group was mandated by the World Health Assembly in May in a resolution that merged two previously proposed resolutions on innovation, public health and intellectual property (IPW, Public Health, 27 May 2006).The working group will be open to all member countries, and although the process has not been clarified yet, non-governmental organisations and experts are also expected to be invited to join the group.Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.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"Newcomer Howard Zucker, Former US Official, To Head WHO IP Group" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.