TAIPEI, Taiwan - Two years after the victory of Taiwan Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and President Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan is feeling the effects of the DPP's position against the "One China principle." At the World Health Organization, China is allegedly successfully blocking Taiwan from participating in the annual World Health Assembly, and in a number of WHO technical meetings, officials say. Beyond the political dimension of the dissent between China and Taiwan, the situation may hurt the Taiwanese and global health security, Taiwanese officials said. Continue reading ->
Pharmaceutical R&D constantly leads to the generation of new intellectual property (IP), from clinical trial data to libraries of promising compounds. Not all IP assets generated by a company are used in their future R&D. When this happens, companies can choose instead to share them with other third-party researchers, under licensing agreements. The Access to Medicine Foundation has worked with BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) to develop a framework for identifying which IP assets are most difficult for companies to share, yet most likely to speed up R&D of the medicines and vaccines needed by people living in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), write Clarke B. Cole and Katie Graef. Continue reading ->
Intellectual property rights, particularly patents, are considered by some as being a barrier in access to medicines despite being a stimulus for innovation. At a recent symposium co-organised by the World Health Organization, World Trade Organization and World Intellectual Property Organization, speakers also talked about the role of science, governments, and universities in health innovation and access, and how to address challenges such as secondary patents. Continue reading ->
The price of hepatitis C medicine marked a turning point in the discussion on access to medicines, with developed countries suddenly confronted to prices they could not afford. This week, a symposium jointly organised by the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the World Intellectual Property Organization explored the question of the pricing of medicines. A number of suggestions were made to alleviate the issue, such as ensuring wide use of generic medicines, encouraging competition, and alerting countries about the cost of medicine production so they negotiate better with pharmaceutical companies. Continue reading ->
Some products are too cheap, generic drug companies do not invest in them because they do not make enough money out of them. Others seem astronomically expensive, and are said to include the costs of all research, successes and failures alike. Panellists at a recent Swiss-organised expert event in Bern concurred that something must done about pricing, and explored some surprising ways to do it. Continue reading ->
The unexpected announcement in December of the resignation of the Medicines Patent Pool executive director left the Pool searching for its new head. Marie-Paule Kieny, former World Health Organization assistant director general, now chair of the MPP governance board stepped in to oversee the MPP while the search goes on. She sat down recently for an interview with Intellectual Property Watch to explain that MPP is conducting business as usual, and is keeping firm in its plan to release the results of a feasibility study analysing the possibility for MPP to extend its licensing activities to other essential medicines still under patent. Continue reading ->
A delegation of heads of biotechnology companies visited Geneva this month to present the International Confederation of Biotechnology Trade Associations (ICBA). The ICBA was created in 2012, but is now looking to make its voice heard in Geneva and inform policy discussions, and is finding it is not easy to become an observer in some organisations. They also underlined the importance of intellectual property for the biotech sector, in particular to attract indispensable capital. The delegation sat down with Intellectual Property Watch’s Catherine Saez to talk about their Geneva visit. Continue reading ->
Geneva, 21 Nov (TWN) - A discussion document prepared by the Secretariat of the World Health Organization (WHO) proposes criteria to justify interventions with respect to medicines in transit. This document is prepared for the 6th meeting of the Member State Mechanism (MSM) to be held from 28 November to 1 December at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, writes Third World Network. Continue reading ->