[Ip-health] US NGO’s Call For George Washington University to Cease Industry-Sponsored Intellectual Property Training in India

Judit Rius Sanjuan judit.rius at keionline.org
Wed Jun 9 11:52:19 PDT 2010


Source: http://keionline.org/node/863

On June 7, 2010 medicine access advocacy groups joined together in asking that George Washington University (GWU) put a stop to its industry-sponsored intellectual property (IP) summits and to take an academic, evidenced-based approach to conferences it conducts in India. The nine NGO’s signing on to the letter include: Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM), Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), Oxfam America, American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Board of Directors of Students for Free Culture, Health GAP, Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH), Public Citizen, and Doctors without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières – USA.

For the past seven years, GWU has held summits in India, organizing presentations and other activities, as part of its “India Project.” The letter calls for GWU to consider all issues relevant to the IP discussion, including public health and access concerns and is included below.

The Letter sent by 9 NGOs is copied below.

A UAEM document explaining the background of the issues is included here: http://essentialmedicine.org/stop-george-washington-u-being-pharma-front

A previous KEI post on the issue is available here: http://keionline.org/node/793

Additional news and resources on this issue are available at the following sites:

·      http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/insidious-india.../387411/

·      http://business.rediff.com/column/2010/mar/04/guest-the-absurd-mnc-backed-india-project.htm

·      http://www.pharmabiz.com/article/detnews.asp?articleid=54150&sectionid=

·      http://www.ip-watch.org/weblog/2006/04/03/new-us-industry-government-backed-centre-promotes-industry-view-in-developing-countries/.

·      Also of relevance, Cipla has demanded an apology from GWU for allowing Gilead’s presentation at the last India summit: http://www.eatg.org/eatg/Global-HIV-News-Pharma-Industry/Cipla-demands-apology-from-US-university

For more information contact:
Krista Cox: (650) 787-2200; krista.cox at essentialmedicine.org
Judit Rius Sanjuan: (212) 222-5180; judit.rius at keionline.org

THE LETTER: 

Open Letter to George Washington University Law School Dean to Cease Industry-Sponsored Intellectual Property Training in India

Dean Frederick M. Lawrence
George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
flawrence at law.gwu.edu
Tel: (202) 994-6288 Fax: (202) 994-5157

Associate Dean Susan L. Karamanian
George Washington University Law School
2000 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20052
skarmanian at law.gwu.edu
Tel: (202) 994-1210 Fax: (202) 994-2831

June 7, 2010

Dear Dean Lawrence and Dean Karamanian,

We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to express our concerns regarding George Washington University’s (GWU) India Project and its annual summits held in India. This Project has consisted of industry-sponsored activities in India that purport to be an academic exercise and free-flow exchange of ideas, but instead act as a front for a biased industry agenda.

India, as a key supplier of generic medicines to developing world, plays an essential role in promoting global health. The country’s intellectual property (IP) regime directly governs the ability of domestic manufacturers to produce low-cost medicines, and therefore has deep implications not only for India, but for the developing world as a whole.

GWU ostensibly created the “India Project” with the intent to bring together academics, government officials and business leaders to discuss IP issues including the international and domestic aspects of patent law. Despite these objectives, in practice, GWU’s India Project has failed to present a balanced discussion on intellectual property, and especially the importance of protecting public health in developing countries. Instead, the Project, which receives funding from multinational pharmaceutical corporations and software companies, has misrepresented an industry-centered perspective as an independent academic exercise. These sponsors have vested interests in an outcome where India adopts stricter intellectual property rules and their presentations are indicative of heavy industry bias. Instead of offering a true forum for discussion and debate on these critical issues, these summits are one-sided and only seek to impose a U.S.-style IP regime on India.

We urge GWU to act responsibly with regard to its intellectual property summits. As a non-profit, academic institution, GWU should consider all issues relevant to the IP debate including access to medicines issues and public health concerns, and not allow multinational companies to lobby Indian officials and judges behind a false cover of academia. We urge GWU to resist use of the university by industries interested entirely in commercial profits, and to present all the relevant aspects of IP issues—including the importance of IP flexibilities to protect public health and the patent system’s inability to induce innovation for neglected diseases.

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
Oxfam America
American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
Board of Directors of Students for Free Culture
Health Gap
Center for Policy Analysis on Trade and Health (CPATH)
Public Citizen
Doctors without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres – USA 






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