Public health innovation and intellectual property progress made in the inter-governmental working group to facilitate implementation of resolution WHA 59.24
AbstractThe African Region carries the heaviest burden of noncommunicable and communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Yet, more than 50% of the population in the Region lack regular access to essential medicines. One among other factors limiting access to medicines is high prices. Prices of patented medicines are particularly beyond the reach of the majority of the people in Africa. During the past decade, a growing international debate concerning the wider aspects of the relationship between intellectual property rights, innovation and public health has been taking place against a backdrop of poverty reduction and improving access to health care. 2. WHO has a long-standing mandate in the area of trade, intellectual property rights and access to medicines. Besides, WHO together with the African Union, regional economic communities and other UN agencies has been supporting countries to increase their awareness and build their capacities to effectively use public health safeguards that are contained under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights of the World Trade Organization. 3. In 2004, WHO formed an independent commission to analyse the relationship between intellectual property rights, innovation and public health (WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health, CIPIH). The WHO Commission's report was published in April 2006, raising global awareness of problems around innovation and access to health products, especially in the developing world. The Commission concluded that intellectual property rights provide important incentives for the development of new medicines and medical technologies. However, intellectual property rights do not provide an effective incentive when patient populations are small or poor. The Commission made around sixty recommendations to foster innovation and improve access.
Regional Committee for Africa, 57. (2011). Public health innovation and intellectual property progress made in the inter-governmental working group to facilitate implementation of resolution WHA 59.24. http://www.who.int/iris/handle/10665/1885