> TRIPS and public health

> WHO-WIPO-WTO cooperation on intellectual property and public health


  • The symposium will be held at the WTO, Centre William Rappard, rue de Lausanne 154, Geneva, in Room CR1, on 28 October 2015 from 09h30 to 18h00; a draft programme is available here
  • Online registration is mandatory and is available here until 23 October 2015.

At the historic juncture of the 20th anniversary of the WTO and of the TRIPS Agreement, this fifth trilateral symposium endeavours to review the information base on access and innovation in medical technologies and to identify possibilities and limitations for better integrating data in support of policy makers' future work.

Different expectations and concerns were associated with the entry into force of the TRIPS Agreement 20 years ago. While some had hoped for a major boost to innovation due to extended protection of intellectual property, others had been concerned with an adverse effect on access to IP-protected products, particularly medicines. The symposium reviews selected data and looks at practical ways in which the twin challenges of innovation and access have been addressed.

In 1996, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution that requested WHO to report on the impact of the work of the WTO on medicines policies and make recommendations for collaboration between WTO and WHO (WHA49.14). In the following years, the public debate about intellectual property and public health grew in intensity, leading, among other developments, to the adoption of the WTO Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health in November 2001. WTO, WIPO and WHO stepped up their collaboration over the years, particularly since 2010 when the first trilateral symposium was held.

A common feature of ongoing discussions on intellectual property and public health in many different fora, is that solid data and facts are often missing. Time has therefore come to take stock of the experience of improving access to IP-protected medical technologies by reviewing selected data and case studies. The symposium will thus attempt to present data on the complex relationship between trade in medical technologies, patents, innovation and access, including the role of TRIPS flexibilities and recent experience with the use of compulsory licenses and voluntary license agreements. In so doing, the symposium is expected to contribute to assisting governments and other interested parties in well-informed, evidence-based policy making.

Participants are expected to be Geneva-based delegations to the WHO, WIPO and WTO, representatives of international, philanthropic and civil society organizations, as well as experts on IP, innovation, health and access to medicines.

The symposium will be held in English only; no interpretation will be available. Subject to availability of space, participation is open to all interested individuals and organizations. Registered participants without UN or WTO accreditation need to bring official identification.

The symposium will take place back to back with a WHO-WIPO-WTO technical workshop on patentability criteria that will be held at the  WTO on 27 October 2015.

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