TRIPS AND PUBLIC HEALTH

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The first edition of this technical workshop will assist the WTO Secretariat in the development and implementation of future technical assistance activities that are tailored to the needs of members and observers. With the close cooperation of the secretariats of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the workshop gave an overview of some of the most pressing issues at the intersection of health, IP and trade policy which have arisen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Presentations by the WTO Secretariat, complemented by presentations from the WHO and WIPO secretariats, focused on an overview of the regulatory and other health challenges, key features of the global IP system, trade policy settings that can facilitate access to COVID-19-related health technologies as well as each organization's work to support members in this endeavour. They also considered flexibilities within each framework to respond to domestic policy objectives and development needs. Presentations are available here.

The workshop also introduced the second edition of the WHO-WIPO-WTO study “PromotingAccess to Medical Technologies and Innovation, launched on 29 July 2020. The COVID-19 section of the study serves as the basis for providing an overview of the issues that have arisen during the pandemic regarding the health, trade and IP determinants for innovation in, and access to, health technologies and that are addressed by the study.

Seventy-five Geneva-based and capital-based experts from over 40 different WTO members and observers and officials of the Ministries of Health, Trade, Finance, Foreign Affairs and Education, as well as IP offices, took part in the workshop. They represented expertise from many distinct policy dimensions which emphasized the need for an integrated approach to deal with the crisis.

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