World Health Organization

Several years ago WHO started to increase its activities in coordinating new approaches for R&D, resulting in the following steps:

  • The establishment of the Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH) and its ensuing report
  • The consequent establishment of The Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG PHI), now called the IGWG process

Commission on Intellectual Property, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH)

In 2003, WHO Member States agreed to set up a commission to consider the relationship between intellectual property rights, innovation and public health. The ensuing report (‘the CIPIH Report’) was published in 2006, showing clear evidence that patent protection is an insufficient incentive for medicines where there is no market, and that exclusive marketing rights limit access to medicine for many people in the world. The report gives systematic recommendations to improve needs driven drug supply globally. The recommendations cover the field of pharmaceutical R&D, health care delivery and capacity building for drug development and production in developing countries. Link to the report:
http://www.who.int/intellectualproperty/documents/thereport/ENPublicHealthReport.pdf

In order to start activating those recommendations, the World Health Assembly decided in 2006 to establish an Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG).

Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG PHI)

The IGWG (http://www.who.int/phi/en/) was established in 2006, following the World Health Assembly resolution WHA 59-24 (http://www.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/WHA59/A59_R24-en.pdf). The mandate is “to draw up a global strategy and plan of action in order to provide a medium-term framework based on the recommendations of the Commission [CIPIH]. Such a strategy and plan of action aims at, inter alia, securing an enhanced and sustainable basis for needs-driven, essential health research and development relevant to diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries [...]”

Previous IGWG meetings:
4-8 December 2006
5-10 November 2007

The global strategy and plan of action will be finally drafted for the World Health Assembly in May 2008

All official documents, drafts and country submissions are available on the WHO website: http://www.who.int/phi/documents/en/index.html


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