[Ip-health] IP-Watch: Confidential Draft Of WHO Cancer Resolution Shows Remaining Issues IP-Related

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Wed Feb 8 08:16:52 PST 2017


Confidential Draft Of WHO Cancer Resolution Shows Remaining Issues

07/02/2017 BY CATHERINE SAEZ <http://www.ip-watch.org/author/catherine/>,

   The latest version of a draft resolution on addressing the global rise
   of cancer negotiated last week at the World Health Organization shows that
   remaining points are intellectual property-related, but there seems to be
   agreement on referencing trade flexibilities in the text, even from the
   United States, and a common goal of lowering prices of treatment. WHO
   members tried to reach common language during the Executive Board in
   January but time ran out and discussions are expected to continue until the
   annual World Health Assembly in May.

At the close of the Executive Board, Canada, which chaired the drafting
group, said most of the language of the draft resolution was agreed upon
and highlighted in green in an undisclosed text.An initial draft resolution
<http://apps.who.int/gb/ebwha/pdf_files/EB140/B140_31-en.pdf> [pdf] was
considered during the WHO Executive Board, which took place
<http://apps.who.int/gb/e/e_eb140.html> from 23-31 January. The draft aimed
at providing recommendations for countries to develop national cancer
prevention and control action plans, and some potential actions to be taken
by the WHO secretariat. A drafting group was organised to try to propose a
text agreeable to all and met several times during the Executive Board (
*IPW*, WHO, 31 January 2017

The text, obtained by *Intellectual Property Watch* and available here
is what appears to be the latest “white paper,” (non-official document) of
the draft resolution, as showed on the screen in the drafting group venue
at the beginning of the afternoon of 31 January. This was the latest text
available and is expected to be the basis for discussions going forward.

Most of the text is highlighted in green, while three paragraphs are
highlighted in yellow, and some are not coloured at all. According to
sources, the yellow coloured text reflects that the text has been discussed
but not concluded, and the text bearing no colours has not been discussed

WHO members are expected to continue to meet informally between the end of
the Executive Board and the next World Health Assembly in May, with the
hope of agreeing on the rest of the text so the resolution can be adopted
in May.

The 31 January version of the draft resolution is substantially longer than
the original document, as countries added several paragraphs to reflect
additional actions to be taken to better address the cancer issue.

For example, in the advice to government, a paragraph was added to suggest
collaboration by strengthening regional and subregional partnerships and
networks to create centres of excellence for the management of certain
cancers. Another addition is the suggestion to promote and facilitate
psychosocial counselling and after-care for cancer patients and their

In the requests to the WHO director general, a paragraph has been added
which instructs the secretariat “to strengthen the collaboration with NGOs,
private sector, academic institutions and philanthropic foundations as
defined in FENSA [WHO Framework of Engagement with Non-State Actors], with
a view to foster the development of effective and affordable new cancer

Intellectual Property Still Touchy

Topics involving intellectual property issues have typically led to lengthy
and difficult discussions at the WHO. Some developed countries are
supportive of maintaining a high degree of enforcement of IP rights to
promote innovation, and say that IP is not the only hurdle in the issue of
access of medicines. Some others, mainly developing countries, say that IP
rights maintain monopolies and lead to unaffordable prices.

Text highlighted in yellow (not yet agreed) includes a paragraph “to
promote the affordability and availability of quality, safe and effective
medicines (in particular, but not limited to, those on the WHO Model List
of Essential Medicines), vaccines and diagnostics for cancer, recognizing
the critical importance of affordable medicines, including generics, in
scaling up access to affordable cancer treatment.”

The document indicates that Brazil suggested that access should be achieved
through public health-sensitive intellectual property policies, while the
European Union proposed appropriate financing arrangements, more effective
supply systems, and measures to address high prices.

Also in yellow is a paragraph proposed by Colombia recognising that
“protection and enforcement measures for intellectual property rights
should be compliant with the World Trade Organization Agreement on
Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and
should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of the right
of Member States to protect public health and, in particular, to promote
access to medicines for all.”

Text with no colour includes variations of the Colombia proposal on TRIPS
by the United States, and the chair of the drafting group (Canada). Also
not discussed is a proposal to conduct a feasibility study of creating a
“multi-country push and pull fund for cancer research and development, as
an alternative to incentives-based intellectual property rights and/or
regulatory monopolies and to progressively delink cancer R&D costs from
product prices,” suggested by India.

A paragraph referring to vaccination campaigns is also highlighted in
yellow. Specific mention of human papilloma virus and hepatitis B virus in
the original text have been removed.

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