[Ip-health] Update on the WHA negotiations

James Love james.love at keionline.org
Fri May 21 01:02:34 PDT 2010

As evident from the twitter traffic, blogs and occasional news reports,
this year's World Health Assembly involves some drama on many issues.
KEI has mostly followed two: the WHA response to the Expert Working
Group (EWG) on R&D Financing, and the WHA negotiations over the
counterfeit drug issue.

Neither issue is resolved yet, and there seems to be some evidence of
linkage between the two issues, at least to some negotiators.  

On the counterfeits debate, last Sunday the WHO surprised a lot of
people when it announced that it would no longer vouch for the
statistics on the number of counterfeits, and that people should consult
national statistics.  There was no explanation of the change, but for
many observers, it was a recognition that the WHO could no longer
explain or defend the statistics it had been using. It appears that the
WHO will be required to rethink its strategy on counterfeits, following
the debacles of the European in-transit seizures of legitimate generic
products and the widely criticized East Africa anti-counterfeit

On the Expert Working Group, it is now highly likely that a new group
will be formed to re-evaluate and re-do the whole report, including to
evaluate the very proposals singled out by the first EWG as not meeting
the their criteria in Annex 2, which includes a diverse set of
proposals, including those both supported and opposed by the
pharmaceutical industry.

IP-Watch's has recent reports on both WHA negotiations here:


An outstanding controversy about the new group concerns the role of the
Member States is choosing its membership.  The staffing of the group is
likely to be quite important, and some Member states will be asking the
WHO Secretariat to organize a more open process.   

KEI is optimistic about the new effort, which will take place during a
period when the European Parliament, the White House and other
important bodies will beginning a new debate on the role of innovation
inducement prizes, and developing countries undertake a number of
initiatives to explore Annex 2 type issues.


The following proposals did not meet the criteria set out for the analysis:
• transferable intellectual property rights
• green intellectual property
• removal of data exclusivity
• biomedical research and development treaty
• large end-stage prizes (impact-based rewards)
• neglected disease tax breaks for companies.

The remaining proposals in the inventory of the Expert Working Group on Research and Development Financing were either too specific to be used more widely or performed insufficiently well to merit further consideration.

James Love, Director, Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org | http://www.twitter.com/jamie_love
Wk: +1.202.332.2670 | US Mobile +1.202.361.3040 | Geneva Mobile +41.76.413.6584

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