[Ip-health] IP Watch: NCDs Pose Major Threat to Public Health, WHO Reports

Krista Cox krista.cox at keionline.org
Thu Sep 15 15:33:16 PDT 2011


NCDs Pose Major Threat to Public Health, WHO Reports

By Rachel Marusak Hermann for *Intellectual Property Watch*

The greatest threat to global public health is not infectious diseases
according to the World Health Organization. In a report released this week,
the WHO found that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the top cause of
death worldwide. The report details the NCD situation in 193 countries and
comes as world leaders prepare to meet at the United Nations high-level
meeting on NCDs <http://www.un.org/en/ga/ncdmeeting2011/> in New York on
19-20 September.

In recent decades, health authorities have given greatest attention to
infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS. The WHO said this report gives new
urgency to improving the prevention and treatment of the most deadly NCDs:
cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung disease, and diabetes. In 2008, these
diseases killed more than 36 million people: cardiovascular diseases
accounting for 48 percent of these deaths, cancers 21 percent, chronic
respiratory diseases 12 percent, and diabetes 3 percent.

Beyond the health impact, the WHO also emphasizes the economic strain these
diseases have, especially in low- and middle-income countries. WHO
authorities are urging the international community to sharpen its focus on
NCDs. Such attention could intensify concerns about access to treatment of
these diseases in developing countries. And this could raise more questions
about the role of intellectual property rights in relation to that access.

For the WHO’s full report on NCD’s, click

Krista Cox
Staff Attorney
Knowledge Ecology International
(202) 332-2670

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