WHO Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG)
Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property

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Highlights on the Path to the IGWG

2003: The 56th World Health Assembly (WHA) passes resolution 56.27, establishing the Committee on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH). The Committee is tasked with conducting an analysis and putting forth proposals on funding and incentive mechanisms for the development of products to fight diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries. The Committee is deeply divided, with NGO's supporting new paradigms for R&D incentives while multinational drug companies argue that strong patent protection and market driven R&D priorities are sufficient. The United States opposes all discussion of R&D treaties at the World Health Organization (WHO).

2004: On February 24th, a group of 162 scientists, economists, doctors, public health experts, members of parliament, and other experts sends a letter to the WHO Executive Board and to CIPIH requesting an evaluation of proposals for a medical R&D treaty.

2005: On November 16, the Republic of Kenya submits a draft resolution to the 117th Session of the WHO Executive Board for the establishment of a working group to examine global health priorities for medical research and development.

January 2006: In January, Kenya submits a background document for its proposed resolution, and 285 scientists from 51 countries, including 5 Nobel Prize winners send a letter to the WHO Executive Board supporting the Kenyan resolution. On January 24, Brazil joins with Kenya in submitted a revised draft resolution proposed a WHO initiative to create a bold new global framework for essential health R&D. The United States and the European Commission initially opposed it.

April 2006: The CIPIH finally issues its report. The final report includes many compromises, but reaches some important conclusions (highlights).

May 2006: There is increasingly vocal support for the Kenya&Brazil resolution. The Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) launches its R&D appeal with a letter signed by more than 5,000 scientists, policy-makers, industry and NGO members, including 19 Nobel laureates. On May 18th, 64 Members of the European Parliament sign a statement calling for a global framework on essential health research and development. The next day, five members of the U.S. Congress send a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services asking the U.S. to support the Kenya & Brazil resolution. The effort pays off as the U.S. delegation splits with the big drug companies and backs the Kenya & Brazil proposal. European Commission maintains its hard line opposition to the proposal, but to no avail. The WHA passes the Kenya & Brazil proposal as resolution 59.24, calling for the establishment of an Intergovernmental Working Group to draw up a global strategy and plan of action based on the recommendations of the CIPIH, including researching a new framework to support sustainable, needs-driven, essential R&D work on diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries.

November 2006. From November 1-15, the IGWG hosts a Web Based Public Hearing. Many groups offer submissions for consideration.

December 4-8, 2006. IGWG meeting in Geneva IGWG Home with links to documents including 'Elements of a Global Strategy and Plan of Action.' The working group will include governments as well as a number of observers and invited experts and stakeholders, in order to create a medium-term framework to identify R&D priorities, including methods and sources of funding. Further decisions have yet to be made. Public health groups and some experts will be pushing for new open source methods of conducting research, and new incentive systems that reward innovations that improve health outcomes in developing countries without imposing marketing monopolies or high drug prices. Big drug companies will lobby for measures that link high prices for blockbuster drugs to R&D for neglected diseases.

CPTech Documents                                                                                     Index
Supporting Documents                                                                               Index

December 8, 2006. Statement by Holy See Delegation at the WHO IGWG

December 7, 2006. Michelle Childs. WHO IGWG: Statement by Consumers International. IPHealth.

December 6, 2006. Dr. Bernard Pecoul. Statement Intervention of DNDi's Director Bernard Pecoul at the WHO IGWG

December 5, 2006. Intervention by Consumers International at the WHO IGWG 5th December.

December 5, 2006. Written Statement of CMC Churches' Action for Health at IGWG. CMC Churches' Action for Health.

May 2006. Dr. Hans Hogerzeil. Essential medicines and human rights: what can they learn from each other? WHO Bulletin.

January 27, 2006. CPTech Statement on WHO EB Resolution on Global Framework for Essential Health R&D.

January 26, 2006. Statement on behalf of Oxfam by John Sulston. Global Framework on essential health research and development.

Jamuary 26, 2006. Statement on behalf of Consumers International by Ellen 't Hoen. Global Framework for Essential Health R&D.

January 25, 2006. Joint letter from 240 scientists and researchers. Open Letter to the Members of the WHO Executive Board.

January 23, 2006. Members of the EU Parliament Dorette Corbey and John Bowis. Letter to Commissioner Kyprianou in Support of Kenyan Resolution on R&D.

European Union Statements                                                                      Index

General Statement. European Commission Speaking Notes.

Technology Transfer and IP Management. European Commission Speaking Notes.

(Awaiting official documents for the following versions of the EU Presidency Statements.)

Global Strategy. EU Presidency Statement.

Plan of Action Statement. EU Presidency Statement.

Element as a Whole. EU Presidency Statement.

Improving Delivery and Access. EU Presidency Statement.

Promoting Research and Development. EU Presidency Statement.

Innovation Capacity. EU Presidency Statement.

Research and Development. EU Presidency Statement.

General Statement. EU Presidency Statement.

Opening Session Statement. EU Presidency Statement.

Blogs and Lists                                                                                           Index

December 8, 2006. Thiru Balasubramaniam. Canada, United States, South Africa and Kenya raise issue of fast-tracking NGO accreditation. IPHealth.

December 8, 2006. Ben Krohmal. "First IGWG Meeting ends; new expert selection process for next meeting". IP Disputes in Medicine.

December 7, 2006. Ben Krohmal. "Netherlands Issues Non-paper". IP Disputes in Medicine.

December 7, 2006. Michelle Childs. WHO IGWG: Statement by Consumers International. IPHealth.

December 7, 2006. Sangeeta Shashikant. SUNS: Working Group discusses elements of global strategy, plan of action. IPHealth.

December 6, 2006. Ben Krohmal. ""Open Ended" IGWG Drafting Groups". IP Disputes in Medicine.

December 6, 2006. Thiru Balasubramaniam. WHO Eastern Mediterranean countries want discussion of patent pools and new R&D incentives. IPHealth.

December 6, 2006. Sangeeta Shashikant. SUNS: WHO Working Group on IPRs and health holds first meeting. IPHealth.

December 5, 2006. Ben Krohmal. "Musical Chairs doesn't disrupt policy discussion at IGWG". IP Disputes in Medicine.

December 5, 2006. Michelle Childs. Intervention by Consumers International at the WHO IGWG.

December 5, 2006. Thiru Balasubramaniam. 10 Asian countries support global treaty on R&D. FromGeneva.

December 4, 2006. Ben Krohmal. Chair Selected at IGWG. IP Disputes in Medicine.

December 4, 2006. Thiru Balasubramaniam. Discussion on WHO experts at meeting on R&D. FromGeneva.

December 1, 2006. James Love. Letter asking WHO review of the Essential Drugs List (EDL) as it relates to patented products. IP Disputes in Medicine.

November 15, 2006. Thiru Balasubramaniam. WHO IGWG on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property: Elements of a global strategy and plan of action. FromGeneva.

Information about the IGWG on the IP Health Listserve can be found here.

News Stories                                                                                               Index

December 13, 2006. Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest. WHO Group on Health, Innovation, and Intellectual Property Holds First Meeting.

December 11, 2006. Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen.US Advises Developing Country FTA Partners Not To Follow WHO IP Plan

December 11, 2006. Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen.WHO Group Lays Foundation For Global Neglected Diseases R&D Plan.

December 8, 2006. Lancet Editorial. Global strategies need truly global discussions. Lancet.

December 5, 2006. Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen. Cautious Start For WHO IP Working Group As Members Feel Their Way. IP-Watch.

December 5, 2006. Laura MacInnis. U.N. health agency launches pharmaceuticals review. Reuters.

December 1, 2006. Martin Enserink. DRUG RESEARCH: WHO Panel Weighs Radical Ideas. Science. Vol. 314. no. 5804, p. 1373.

November 16, 2006. Consultation On WHO IP Group Shows Polarised Debate; Challenge For Group. February 1, 2006. Bridges Weekly Trade News Digest. WHO Addresses Trade, Health, IP, and Innovation.

January 30, 2006. Frances Williams for the Financial Times. WHO to decide on medical R&D.

January 29, 2006. Sangeeta Shashikant for SUNS. R&D resolution, with brackets, to be transmitted to World Health Assembly.

January 27, 2006. Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for IP Watch. WHO Board Wrestles With IP And Public Health Report, R&D Proposal.

January 27, 2006. Kaiser News Network. Scientists Call on WHO To Support Increased Funding for Neglected Diseases, Including HIV, TB, Malaria.

January 26, 2006. Kanaga Raja for SUNS. Public support for Kenya-Brazil move at WHO on health R&D.

January 25, 2006. Reuters. Scientists ask WHO to boost 'neglected' disease R&D.

January 25, 2006. Kuwait News Agency. Doctors without Borders calls for support for research on neglected diseases.

January 24, 2006. Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen for IP Watch. R&D Resolution Formally Submitted To WHO Board Meeting.

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