Public Health Innovation and Intellectual Property
AbstractThe impact of intellectual property rules and practices on access to health products for poor people in developing countries has been a subject of international debate. The Fifty-second World Health Assembly (WHA) through Resolution WHA52.19 mandated the World Health Organization (WHO) to cooperate with its Member States, at their request, and with international organizations in monitoring and analysing pharmaceutical and public health implications of relevant international agreements, including trade agreements, to protect public health and promote access to health products.1 2. The World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which was reaffirmed by the Doha Ministerial Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health,2 provides opportunities for Member States to use public health safeguards to improve access to medicines. Based on WHO assessment, to-date, 15 countries in the African Region have amended their national policies and legislation to be compliant with TRIPS. 3. Consistent with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, some Member States, for example Kenya, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, have been attempting to make use of public health safeguards to improve access to essential medicines. However, the majority of Member States are yet to amend their national policies and laws to take full advantage of public health safeguards.
Regional Committee for Africa, 59. (2011). Public Health Innovation and Intellectual Property. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/1802