[Ip-health] Intellectual Property Watch: WHO Moves IP, Innovation Out Of Director General’s Office

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Oct 20 00:07:59 PDT 2010


Intellectual Property Watch
19 October 2010

WHO Moves IP, Innovation Out Of Director General’s Office
  By Kaitlin Mara	 @ 8:04 pm
The World Health Organization has moved responsibility for  
intellectual property and innovation issues out of the direct control  
of the WHO director general and into the company of information,  
evidence and research, according to sources.

The WHO Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (PHI)  
programme will move to the cluster on Information, Evidence and  
Research, the WHO press office confirmed today. It was previously in  
the director general’s office.

PHI now answers to the assistant director-general on Information,  
Evidence and Research Marie-Paule Kieny.

The move takes effect on 1 November, according to an internal message  
from the director general to WHO staff circulated today by Knowledge  
Ecology International. The Information, Evidence and Research cluster  
will be renamed the Innovation, Information, Evidence and Research  
cluster in recognition of the “importance of innovation in improving  
health, and of collaboration to facilitate access to new  
technologies,” the internal message said.

A French national, Kieny is new to the division. The WHO website says  
she took up the post in October 2010. Previously, she directed the WHO  
Initiative for Vaccine Research since it began in 2001, with  
significant involvement in WHO efforts on pandemic influenza vaccines.  
She also previously served at the French Institute national de la  
santé et de la recherche médicale, and worked at Transgene, a French  
biopharmaceutical company.
According to a (now outdated) organigram [pdf] of the WHO, this puts  
PHI in the company of the following programmes: Ethics, Equity, Trade  
and Human Rights; Knowledge Management and Sharing; Measurement and  
Health Information Systems; Research Policy and Cooperation; and the  
Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases.

PHI is the division responsible for overseeing the overall  
implementation of the WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public  
Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property. One major issue on its  
agenda for the year is a new expert working group on financing  
research and development of drugs for neglected diseases, after member  
states said a report by a previous expert group on that topic did not  
address critical concerns.

A description of major decisions on IP and health taken at the May  
2010 World Health Assembly is available here for IPW subscribers: IPW,  
WHO, 27 July 2010. The division has seen a few personnel changes in  
recent months (IPW, WHO, 23 April 2010), but this move appears to be  
one of many internal changes taking place at the WHO.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International (KEI)
thiru at keionline.org

Tel: +41 22 791 6727
Mobile: +41 76 508 0997

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