Monday, October 02, 2006

WHO Plans Public Health Consultations

The World Health Organization (WHO) is holding public consultations with stakeholders on global public health and intellectual property, and will stage the first meeting of the intergovernmental working group in early December.
In September, WHO established a secretariat on Public Health, Innovation, Essential Health Research and Intellectual Property to convene and facilitate an intergovernmental working group. The working group was requested by Member States in a Resolution adopted at the World Health Assembly (WHA) in May this year.

In a report in IP Watch, Tove Iren S Gerhardsen has spoken with Elil Renganathan, operational head of the project. Renganathan suggests that the December meeting will be like a "mini-World Health Assembly." The first consultations are planned for November, and will include non-governmental organisations (NGOs), academics, experts, and the members of the public.

In 2003, WHO set up the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH), "Against the background of an ongoing international debate concerning the
relationship between intellectual property rights, innovation and public health, in
international organizations and more generally among governments and civil society
organizations" (CIPIH Report). In April this year, the CIPIH published the report, Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights, analysing the interaction between these 3 critical areas. The report was considered by the intergovernmental working group of WHO's Executive Board, 28 April, and then by all member states (192 countries) at the 59th WHA, 22-27 May 2006.

At the 59th WHA, the Resolution on Public health, innovation, essential health research and intellectual property rights: towards a global strategy and plan of action, was adopted. The Resolution called for the establishment of the intergovernmental working group in order to devise a global strategy and plan of action. The intergovernmental working group and secretariat are to respond to the recommendations of the WHO Report.

The details of the meeting are likely to be announced by WHO mid to late October. IPmed will report the details.

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