Sri Lanka's national assessment on innovation and intellectual property for access to medical products (WHO South-East Asia Journal of Public Health | September 2016)
(2016; 4 pages)


In 2008, the Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property (GSPA-PHI) was launched by the World Health Organization, to stimulate fresh thinking on innovation in, and access to, medicines and to build sustainable research on diseases disproportionately affecting low- and middle-income countries. As part of the activities of the GSPA-PHI, Sri Lanka has been the first country to date to assess the national environment for medical technology and innovation. This year-long, multi-stakeholder, participative analysis facilitated identification of clear and implementable policy recommendations, for the government to increase its effectiveness in promoting innovation in health products through institutional development, investment and coordination among all areas relevant to public health. The assessment also highlighted areas for priority action, including closing the technology gap in development of health products, facilitating technology transfer, and building the health-research and allied workforces. The Sri Lankan experience will inform the ongoing independent external evaluation of the GSPA-PHI worldwide. The assessment process coincided with the passing of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority Act in 2015. In addition, there is growing recognition that regional cooperation will be critical to improving access to medical products in the future. Sri Lanka is therefore actively promoting cooperation to establish a regional regulatory affairs network. Lessons learnt from the Sri Lankan assessment may also benefit other countries embarking on a national GSPA-PHI assessment.

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