WHO Elevates IP Issues To Director General’s Office; Zucker To Depart20/11/2007 by William New, 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 William New The World Health Organization, which has intensively debated intellectual property rights issues in recent years, has restructured its management of the issues, elevating IP to the director general’s office.“[The restructuring] shows the importance that the director general is giving to this particular issue, and reinforces what WHO is already doing in advising countries on IPR issues based on the existing mandate,” said a WHO official.The official added that intellectual property and innovation issues are now going to be “one single body” dealing with the issue, concentrated in the director general’s office.The move will lead to the departure of Howard Zucker, the assistant director general for health technology and pharmaceuticals, and a somewhat polarising figure. Zucker came to the WHO from the Bush administration in 2006 (IPW, WHO, 19 September 2006). He headed the difficult Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG), which will move to the director general’s office. He also brought significant attention to the problem of counterfeit medicines. It is unclear what Zucker’s next plans are.The IGWG is mandated by the 2006 World Health Assembly to find solutions to research on and access to medicines for diseases predominantly affecting developing countries by the May 2008 annual Health Assembly. The second IGWG ended recently with progress but no decision (IPW, WHO, 10 November 2007).A new team for public health, innovation and intellectual property has been created, according to Director General Margaret Chan’s 20 November message to staff, first circulated by the ip-health listserv and confirmed with the WHO.Effective immediately, Zucker’s cluster, Health Technologies and Pharmaceuticals, will be merged into the Health Systems and Services (HSS) cluster under the HSS assistant director general, and eliminating Zucker’s post, according to a WHO source.Now HSS will be comprised of the departments of Health Policy, Development and Services (HDS), Health System Financing (HSF), Human Resources for Health (HRH), the Health Systems and Services Partnership and Coordination Team (PCO), and the departments of Essential Health Technologies (EHT), Medicines Policy and Standards (PSM), and Technical Cooperation for Essential Drugs and Traditional Medicine (TCM). The departments of PSM and TCM will be merged with details to come.On the new IP and innovation team reporting directly to the director general’s office will be Malebona (Precious) Matsoso, director of TCM, and German Velasquez, associate director at TCM, who will join Elil Renganathan, the executive secretary of WHO’s secretariat on IGWG.Matters relating to trade and development appear to remain in the Information, Evidence and Research section of WHO, one source said.In her message, Chan said: “Access to safe, effective, affordable medicines and other technologies is a fundamental component of an effective health system.” William New 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"WHO Elevates IP Issues To Director General’s Office; Zucker To Depart" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.