[Ip-health] NEW South Centre Publications on Equitable Access to COVID-19 Related Health Technologies, Voluntary Patent Pool and more...

Anna Bernardo Bernardo at southcentre.int
Fri Jun 19 05:13:23 PDT 2020

Announcing New and Recent Research Paper and SouthViews on COVID-19 from the South Centre

Research Paper 114 (June 2020): Equitable Access to COVID-19 Related Health Technologies: A Global Priority

By Dr. Zeleke Temesgen Boru

Since COVID-19 was first identified, infections from the virus and the death toll have spiked abysmally. The pandemic has also paralyzed the economies (particularly, global trade, tourism and transport) of many countries. The dire social and psychological ramifications associated with the pandemic are also immense. The threat posed by COVID-19 on global health and the economic downturn resulting thereof necessitates the development of health technologies (such as medicines and vaccines). A global effort to invent new health technologies or the likely application of existing technologies is also underway since the outbreak of the pandemic. Even though the race to develop these technologies can be hailed as a pivotal undertaking, the development of health technologies alone may not expedite equitable access to the outcome of such development. Particularly, the lack of access to health technologies may befall if the conventional model of health technology pricing, which is derived from monopoly rights created by IP protection, is set. However, legal as well as policy tools can be used to overcome such hurdles and ensure global access to health technologies. In this sense, this paper discusses plausible legal and policy options that can help to accelerate access to health technologies targeting COVID-19.

Desde que se identificó por primera vez el COVID-19, las infecciones por el virus y el número de muertes se han disparado. La pandemia también ha paralizado las economías (en particular, el comercio, el turismo y el transporte mundiales) de muchos países. Las graves ramificaciones sociales y psicológicas asociadas a la pandemia son también inmensas. La amenaza que representa COVID-19 para la salud mundial y la recesión económica resultante de ella exige el desarrollo de tecnologías sanitarias (como medicamentos y vacunas). Desde el estallido de la pandemia también se está realizando un esfuerzo mundial para inventar nuevas tecnologías de la salud o la probable aplicación de las tecnologías existentes. Aunque la carrera por desarrollar estas tecnologías puede considerarse una empresa fundamental, el desarrollo de tecnologías sanitarias por sí solo puede no acelerar el acceso equitativo a los resultados de ese desarrollo. En particular, la falta de acceso a las tecnologías sanitarias puede ocurrir si se establece el modelo convencional de fijación de precios de las tecnologías sanitarias, que se deriva de los derechos de monopolio creados por la protección de la propiedad intelectual. Sin embargo, se pueden utilizar instrumentos jurídicos y normativos para superar esos obstáculos y asegurar el acceso mundial a las tecnologías de la salud. En este sentido, en el presente documento se examinan las opciones jurídicas y normativas plausibles que pueden contribuir a acelerar el acceso a las tecnologías de la salud orientadas a COVID-19.

Depuis que le COVID-19 a été identifié pour la première fois, les infections dues au virus et le nombre de décès ont atteint des sommets. La pandémie a également paralysé les économies (en particulier le commerce mondial, le tourisme et les transports) de nombreux pays. Les conséquences sociales et psychologiques de la pandémie sont également immenses. La menace que représente COVID-19 pour la santé mondiale et le ralentissement économique qui en résulte nécessite le développement de technologies de santé (telles que des médicaments et des vaccins). Un effort mondial pour inventer de nouvelles technologies pour la santé ou l’application probable de technologies existantes est également en cours depuis le déclenchement de la pandémie. Même si la course au développement de ces technologies peut être saluée comme une entreprise cruciale, le développement des technologies de la santé ne peut à lui seul accélérer l’accès équitable aux résultats de ce développement. En particulier, le manque d’accès aux technologies de la santé peut se produire si le modèle conventionnel de fixation des prix des technologies de la santé, qui découle des droits de monopole créés par la protection de la propriété intellectuelle, est établi. Toutefois, des outils juridiques et politiques peuvent être utilisés pour surmonter ces obstacles et garantir un accès mondial aux technologies de la santé. En ce sens, ce document examine les options juridiques et politiques plausibles qui pourraient contribuer à accélérer l’accès aux technologies de santé ciblant COVID-19.


SouthViews No. 200, 16 June 2020: Making Covid-19 Medical Products Affordable: Voluntary Patent Pool and TRIPS Flexibilities

By Sudip Chaudhuri

The proposal of Costa Rica to create a voluntary pool mechanism for medical products and technologies for COVID-19 has evoked huge interest and optimism. The World Health Organization (WHO) and Costa Rica have followed it up through a Solidarity Call emphasizing the need for voluntary licensing on non-exclusive basis to the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP). The success of a voluntary pool critically depends on the willingness of the patentees to join the pool. In a public health crisis, boundaries of public policy must not be determined by the patentees. MPP will work much better if the patentees are compelled or induced to join the pool. International cooperation is important in this regard. Highlighting the virtues of voluntary measures and promoting MPP without adequate emphasis on the use of compulsory licensing and other TRIPS flexibilities, actually weakens the MPP. In the light of the experience of MPP, the basic objective of this paper is to analyze to what extent voluntary pool mechanisms can be relied upon to make COVID-19 medical products affordable and accessible. It is important to appreciate the achievements of MPP. But the constraints under which it operates, and its limitations must also be kept in mind.


SouthViews No. 198, 8 June 2020: COVID-19 Crisis and Developing Countries: Digital Health Perspective

By Ambassador Fauzia Nasreen, Dr. Azeema Fareed, Ms. Huma Balouch

Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS)

Technology and Innovation are quintessentially relevant especially in dealing with the multiple threats posed by COVID-19. Most developing countries are already under tremendous stress because of financial constraints, enormous development challenges and technology innovation and knowledge deficiencies. COVID-19 which has disrupted every walk of life is having a multiplier effect on many countries, posing difficult governance choices. Reform and reorientation of the health system and structure is fundamentally important in dealing with the public health issues in the post COVID-19 period, and digital health could help in providing solutions.


SouthViews No. 195, 14 May 2020:COVID-19: An Opportunity to Fix Dysfunctional Biomedical R&D System

By Sreenath Namboodiri

Failures of the patent system to meet the public health priorities demand a new approach in research and development (R&D) financing and incentive to pharmaceutical innovations. An R&D model delinking the cost of R&D from the price of the product is the way forward.


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