[Ip-health] Ellen 't Hoen in The FT: Letter: Finding a treatment for Covid-19 is linked to IP

Thiru Balasubramaniam thiru at keionline.org
Tue May 19 23:01:52 PDT 2020


Letter: Finding a treatment for Covid-19 is linked to IP
>From Ellen ‘t Hoen, Director, Medicines Law & Policy, Amsterdam, The


Thomas Cueni writes (Opinion
<https://www.ft.com/content/e82dd07c-95c5-11ea-899a-f62a20d54625>, May 18)
that discussions about intellectual property at the World Health Assembly
this week, which he characterises as creating an “IP-free space”, will miss
the more important challenge that demand may outstrip supply once effective
Covid-19 treatments become available.

This challenge, however, is intimately linked to IP, as the existence of IP
rights over those treatments and how they are exercised, will play an
important role in determining how production is able to be scaled up.

The IP monopoly pharmaceutical model has served the industry and its
shareholders well, but is not the model to deliver the products now needed
to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.

HIV medicines did not reach people in developing countries until a decade
after they were available in rich nations. We cannot afford for anything
like that to happen now.

The Covid-19 pool proposed by Costa Rica to the WHO is neither an “IP-free
space” nor duplicative of the Medicines Patent Pool. It is a voluntary
mechanism, explicitly supported by the MPP and its founder UNITAID, which
will permit all the IP rights to products needed in response to the
pandemic to be brought together, enabling more open and collaborative R&D
and a greater manufacturing base to be accessed.

Rather than undermining the IP system, it will permit IP owners to make an
enormous contribution, needed as never before, toward delivering the goal
of universal access to Covid-19 health technologies.

Ellen ‘t Hoen
Director, Medicines Law & Policy
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
Knowledge Ecology International
41 22 791 6727
thiru at keionline.org

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