Innovation & Development

Research Paper 197, 28 May 2024

Compulsory Licensing as a Remedy Against Excessive Pricing of Life-Saving Medicines  

By Behrang Kianzad

The COVID-19 crisis intensified decade-long debates on the interaction between intellectual property rights (IPRs), competition law and access to affordable life-saving treatments and vaccines. Compulsory licensing of patented medicines is a tried-and-tested method to expand access, particularly in a situation of “national emergency or other circumstances of extreme urgency” within the meaning of Article 31(b) of the TRIPS Agreement. Some legislations, such as European competition law, offer a toolbox for curbing the exercise of IPRs if they would be found in conflict with certain competition rules, such as rules prohibiting excessive pricing by dominant undertakings. The paper analyses the interface between intellectual property law and competition law in general, moving on to the settled case law of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on this matter. It provides a general overview of legal and economics arguments related to excessive pricing prohibition and the main case law of European competition law on the matter and discusses whether compulsory licensing as a remedy against excessive pricing of patented life-saving pharmaceutical products can be a viable and appropriate remedy. Finally, the paper offers policy recommendations relating to compulsory licensing based on excessive pricing.

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South Centre Statement – WHA77, 27 May 2024

Statement of the South Centre to the 77th WHA

Agenda Item 3

A critical week for global health with the 77th session of the World Health Assembly. For decision, the future of the pandemic instrument and IHR amendment negotiations.

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SC Statement – NAM Health Ministers Meeting, WHA77, 25 May 2024

STATEMENT BY CARLOS CORREA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE SOUTH CENTRE, AT THE VIRTUAL MEETING OF THE MINISTERS OF HEALTH OF THE MEMBER STATES AND OBSERVER STATES OF THE NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT

 25 May 2024

On the sidelines of the 77th session of the World Health Assembly

There is a need for a stronger and more effective WHO, which should be at the centre of norm-setting and moral guidance. NAM can play a key role in shaping the global health agenda. As in the past, the South Centre remains ready to support NAM efforts in this field.

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SC Statement – WIPO Diplomatic Conference on GRs & Associated TK, 13-24 May 2024

STATEMENT

Diplomatic Conference on Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge

Geneva, May 13-24, 2024

The South Centre at WIPO Diplomatic Conference urges strong improvements in Basic Proposal for IP and genetic resources treaty: clear minimum standards for patent disclosure, digital sequence information inclusion & WIPO website for monitoring claims. Searching consensus must not impede this vital treaty to incorporate effective measures against misappropriation.

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SouthViews No. 264, 10 May 2024

Understanding the Interconnected Threats to Global Sustainability: A Focus on Deforestation, Traditional Knowledge, and Biopiracy

By Marissa Costa De Castro

This paper examines the interconnected threats of climate change, deforestation, misappropriation of traditional knowledge (TK), and the detrimental phenomenon of biopiracy. It discusses the profound impacts of deforestation on climate change, with an illustrative case study centered on Brazil’s Matopiba region. Additionally, it investigates the intricate relationship between TK, land grabbing, and biopiracy within indigenous and local communities.

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Policy Brief 129, 7 May 2024

The WIPO Diplomatic Conference for a Treaty on Intellectual Property, Genetic Resources and Associated Traditional Knowledge

By Viviana Muñoz Tellez

A new international legal instrument is set to be concluded under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in May 2024. Its legal nature should be that of an international treaty, given that a Diplomatic Conference, the last treaty making stage, will be held for its conclusion. The purpose of the instrument (hereinafter “the Treaty”) is to create an international minimum standard for patent applicants to provide information concerning the origin or source of the genetic resources or traditional knowledge associated with genetic resources as part of the patent application process. This Policy Brief provides an overview of the rationale for the Treaty and of the process and substantive issues to be negotiated, and advances recommendations towards ensuring a successful conclusion of the Diplomatic Conference.

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SouthViews No. 263, 1 May 2024

The Protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Expressions of Folklore and Genetic Resources Within the African Continental Free Trade Area – Alignment with International and Regional Developments  

By Caroline B. Ncube

The adoption of the Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights under the Agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area presents an opportune moment to consider a continental framework for the protection of Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Cultural Expressions, Expressions of Folklore and Genetic Resources. This SouthViews considers lessons which can be drawn from national laws, using South Africa as an example, for the relevant Annex to be negotiated under the protocol.

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Statements on IPRs of BBNJ, April 2024

Statements on Understanding on Intellectual Property Rights at time of Signature or Ratification of the BBNJ Treaty

South Centre

The Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations did not fully address issues of intellectual property rights (IPRs), but countries can make statements on IPRs at the time of signature and/or on ratification of the BBNJ. Read our recommendations:

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Policy Brief 128, 25 April 2024

The WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body process and the revised draft of the WHO Pandemic Agreement (A/INB/9R/3)

by Nirmalya Syam & Viviana Muñoz Tellez

This Policy Brief considers the negotiating process conducted so far by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for an instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response under the World Health Organization (WHO), and some aspects of the draft text for the Resumed Ninth meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB9R), as well as of the draft proposed resolution for consideration by the World Health Assembly in May 2024. The Policy Brief provides recommendations to assist member States in their negotiations during the INB9R to be held from April 29 to 10 May 2024.

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