IP Aspects Relevant to the Preparation for and Management of a Possible Avian Flu Pandemic

9 November 2005

Consumers International and Consumer Project on Technology are holding a workshop entitled "IP Aspects Relevant to the Preparation for and Management of a Possible Avian Flu Pandemic.". This open meeting will be held at Médecins Sans Frontières (78, rue de Lausanne) in Geneva from 9AM to 1PM on 9 November, 2005 (Wednesday). There will be two panels followed by questions and answers.

The possible threat of an avian flu pandemic highlights in very practical terms the importance of and problems with specific provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, including in particular the 30 August 2003 decision of the WTO regarding the export of medicines manufactured under a compluslory licensee, and the current proposals for a permanent amendment to the TRIPS on this topic. There are also aspects of various bilateral trade agreements that introduce TRIPS plus obligations on the registration of generic medicines that also present barriers to the use of medicines for an avian flu pandemic.

In this context, we also not the vast disparties between the size of medical stockpiles that have been recommended by medical experts, and the that which actually exist in many countries, and the particular difficulties of providing for adedquarte stockpiles in countries of low incomes or which lack the capacity to manufacture vaccines or antiviral medicines.

The purpose of the workshop is to take stock of these issues, and to explore concrete measures by governments and global institutions to ensure that consumers are adequately protected from the risks of an avian flu pandemic, or a similar global public health emergency.

Panelists will include representatives from Médecins Sans Frontières, Third World Network, Consumer Project on Technology, and a represantative of the generics industry. We are awaiting confirmation from the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, the World Intellectual Property Organization, IFPMA and Glaxo SmithKline on their possible participation.

For those readers who can confirm their attendance, please contact me directly.


Thiru Balasubramaniam
Geneva Representative
41 22 791 6727
41 76 508 0997

For more background see Consumers International's Statement to TRIPS Council on Access to Medicine, in the Context of Avian Flu Pandemic and Other Emergencies.

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