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Governments can ration access to cancer drugs, or break patent monopolies. Why is rationing so popular?:

Anne Marie Worning appointed as new acting head of WHO's team on public health, innovation and intellectual property

On 4 June 2010, Dr. Margaret Chan (Director General, World Health Organization) announced Dr. Anne Marie Worning as 'acting Director, Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (PHI)'. According to the WHO website,

Dr Anne Marie Worning, a Danish national, is the Executive Director of the Director-General's Office since April 2009.

Program for WTO TRIPS Council (June 8-9) including discussion on Paragraph 6 implementation and TRIPS plus enforcement trends

The following WTO aerogram contains the agenda for the upcoming WTO Council for TRIPS meeting to be held in Geneva from 8 June 2010 to 9 June 2010. Paragraph 2 and agenda items l and m will be of interest to readers of this blog. It should be noted that in the original document, the text is capitalized.

WTO/AIR/3562/Rev. 1

1. The next meeting of the Council for TRIPS will be held in the Center William Rappard on 8-9 June 2010. The meeting will start at 11 A.M. Tuesday, 8 June.

Remembering Al and Tipper Gore

The announcement this week that Al and Tipper Gore have separated brought back a number of memories. I first worked with Al Gore's office in 1990, when I was an employee of the Center for the Study of Responsive Law, working with the American Library Association (ALA) and other library groups to overturn a Reagan era policy to privatize the distribution of government databases. Among other things, I had worked with Representative Charlie Rose to introduce a bill in the House of Representatives to create an online distribution system at the Government Printing Office (GPO).

Costs and Benefits of the US Proposal to WIPO SCCR on Copyright Exceptions for Disabilities

On May 27, 2010, the US government presented to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), a proposal for a "Consensus Instrument" for persons with disabilities related to reading printed publications.

WTO TRIPS Council (June 8-9) to deliberate on Paragraph 6 implementation and TRIPS plus enforcement measures

The upcoming WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council) meets on 8-9 June 2010 (next Tuesday and Wednesday); Martin Glass (Hong Kong) is the current chair of the TRIPS Council. Access to attend WTO TRIPS Council meetings is only granted to WTO Members and organizations with observer status to the TRIPS Council (such as the World Health Organization); consequently, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are not permitted to observe the proceedings of the TRIPS Council.

WIPO SCCR open ended consultation on the treaty for the blind

I plan to write up a more detailed analysis of the WIPO open ended consultation on the treaty for persons who are blind or have other disabilities. I did want to make a few quick notes, however.

Response of Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Paraguay to US proposal at WIPO open-consultations

Open-ended consultations on copyright limitations and exceptions for persons with print disabilities
Geneva, May 27, 2010

Mr. Chairman,

Yesterday, during the first round of the consultations, Brazil recalled the reasons why there is an urgent need for a treaty on Improved Access for Blind, Visually Impaired and other Reading Disabled Persons. As civil society representatives were not present yesterday, I will recall some of the main points Brazil holds dear in these discussions.

WIPO SCCR: US Proposal for a Consensus Instrument for persons with print disabilities

Today, 27 May 2010, during the WIPO Open-ended Consultations on Copyright Limitations and Exceptions for Persons with Print Disabilities and on the Protection of Audiovisual Performances, the government of the United States of America distributed a draft proposal to WIPO Member States for a Consensus Instrument for persons with print disabilities.
The US proposal is available in pdf format here, in doc format here, and copied below.

Global Health Progress/IFPMA fete African health ministers in Geneva on public private partnerships

On 19 May 2010, Global Health Progress (GHP) and the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) hosted a luncheon at the Vieux Bois in Geneva on the margins of the 63rd World Health Assembly for a targeted audience of over 90 persons including Ministers of Health, Ambassadors and senior officials from the Africa.

Why is there resistance to prize funds?

I was recently asked the following question:

What is your view on the treatment of prize funds? By all standards it is treated as a radical off the wall proposal when in fact it is market based. Why is there so much resistance?

My response was as follows:

KEI Statement on WHA 63 Establishment of Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Finance and Coordination

The World Health Assembly (WHA) has just adopted a new resolution on the "Establishment of a Consultative Expert Working Group on Research and Development: Finance and Coordination." The resolution is just over 4 pages. It represents a dramatic response to the earlier WHO Expert Working Group (EWG), by

  1. calling for a more member state driven role in establishing the membership of the group,
  2. focusing extensively by the need to deepen the analysis,

Mary Moran, Inc.

Dr. Mary Moran was a member of the WHO Expert Working Group on R&D financing. According to one WHO official, she was also hired by the World Health Organization to write key sections of the report, managed the selection criteria, ended up giving her own proposal the highest rating, and was asked by the WHO to address the May 13th consultations with WHO member states. Yesterday Dr. Moran approached me in part to ask that she not be identified as an employee of the George Institute.

SAVE THE DATE: 19 May 2010-Moving beyond the EWG: Charting a new path for WHO to promote innovation AND access to medicines

Moving beyond the EWG: Charting a new path for WHO to promote innovation AND access to medicines

Non-governmental organization perspectives on de-linkage, prizes and the R+D Treaty

Date: Wednesday, 19 May 2010
Location: Salle XXV, Palais des Nations
Time: 13:00 to 14:30

I+A: Innovation+Access

PDP+ presented at WHA to skeptical audience

Last evening the Global Health Council (GHC) and the Global Health Forum (GHF) co-hosted an event on funding R&D for neglected diseases. The event was one of several hosted by the GHC at the posh Intercontinental Hotel.

A "proposal" for PDP funding was presented by Novartis, IAVI and Mary Moran. Called PDP+, it was an attempt to "merge" three different proposals that were endorsed by the WHO Expert Working Group (EWG).

Launch of 2.3(c) Committee: Salle XXV (Palais des Nations): May 19, 13:00 to 14:30

On Wednesday, 19 May 2010, the launch of the 2.3(c) Committee will take place at Room XXV of the Palais de Nations from 13:00 to 14:30. Element 2.3(c) of the WHO Global Strategy on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property states:

encourage further exploratory discussions on the utility of possible instruments or mechanisms for essential health and biomedical R&D, including inter alia, an essential health and biomedical R&D treaty

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