Health

Policy Brief 123, 14 December 2023

The WHO CA+ Discussions on Pathogen Access and Benefit Sharing: State of Play

 By Nirmalya Syam

This brief explores the scope of a World Health Organization (WHO) pathogen access and benefit-sharing (PABS) mechanism as a possible outcome of the negotiations ongoing in the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) for a WHO Convention, Agreement or other Instrument (WHO CA+) for pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR). After seven sessions of the INB, substantial differences remain between developed and developing countries on the PABS system. While the text contains specific obligations on rapid sharing of pathogen material and genetic sequence information reflective of the primary interest of developed countries to get such access outside the framework of the Nagoya Protocol to the Convention on Biological Diversity through a specialized WHO instrument such as the PABS system under the WHO CA+, the current text continues to be weak in terms of effectively operationalizing fair and equitable-benefit sharing. To that end, it is critical that detailed provisions on standard material transfer agreements, data access relating to their genomic sequence information and specific obligations on monetary and non-monetary benefit-sharing by recipients of pathogen material and sequence information are included in the provisions establishing the PABS system. Therefore, it is important that the proposals that have been made in this regard by developing countries are incorporated in the draft negotiating text.

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Research Paper 188, 7 December 2023

The Intersection Between Intellectual Property, Public Health and Access to Climate-Related Technologies

By Lívia Regina Batista

On the 20th anniversary of the Doha Declaration on the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and Public Health adopted by the World Trade Organization, we realize that its impact is beyond issues of public health stricto sensu. The Doha Declaration has inspired discussions at the Council for TRIPS regarding access to climate-related technologies. Climate change is the main and most globalized environmental problem with adverse effects on public health, especially for the vulnerable communities in the Global-South. The main argument of the proponents of the discussion in the TRIPS Council is the need to rebalance public interests (such as public health and environmental/climate issues) with the private/economic interests of the most powerful countries and corporations. This debate addresses both the recognition of intellectual property rights as an important means for the promotion of technological innovation, and the required wider dissemination of technologies – be they medicines or climate-related technologies. This research paper explores the possibilities that the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha Declaration create for international transfer of climate-related technologies. Even though such discussions on climate-related technologies have initially failed in linking climate change and public health, as well as the rhetoric of human rights, the relevance of the topic remains. Besides that, the response to public health issues also must learn from the experience in climate change, such as the case studies evidencing the insufficiency and inefficiency of fast-tracking programs to provide for a wider dissemination of technologies – which have now been widely replicated to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Such comparison can also be an entrance point to discuss the public health implications for the international regime on climate change, highlighting that such issues are deeply intertwined, and need to be addressed jointly as well.

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SouthViews No. 254, 10 November 2023

Digital Health Challenges in the South: Towards Better Integration of Digital Health Practices

By Dr. Azeema Fareed and Ms. Farhana Saleem (COMSATS)

Much like any innovation, diffusion of digital health technologies in different countries depends on their level of development, availability of infrastructure, socio-economic conditions and indigenous strengths and weaknesses, political will and stability, demographics as well as social norms. Naturally for developing countries, social, economic, and technological set-backs make digital health adoption, implementation and mainstreaming more challenging. Using WHO’s e-Health components, this article highlights key challenges impacting digital health adoption in developing countries in the light of COMSATS’ experience.

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SC Statement to INB 7, 6 November 2023

Statement by the South Centre to the INB 7

6 November 2023

As the intergovernmental think tank of developing countries, we are pleased to provide our support to these negotiations.

The current negotiating text is not yet fit for purpose.

We encourage the INB this week to reflect on and improve the negotiating text…

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SC Statement – Colombia, Dolutegravir, 3 de octubre de 2023

Colombia declara de interés público el uso de patente sobre Dolutegravir para incrementar el acceso a tratamiento a personas que viven con HIV

3 de octubre de 2023

El South Centre, el organismo intergubernamental de 55 países en desarrollo, celebra la decisión del Gobierno de Colombia de hacer uso gubernamental no comercial de una patente con el objetivo de garantizar que las personas que viven con VIH reciban tratamientos basados en Dolutegravir (DTG). Estos tratamientos son financiadas con recursos públicos asignados a la salud.

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SC Statement to the HLM on PPR, 20 September 2023

South Centre Statement to the High Level Meeting on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response

20 September 2023

The UN HLMs on health have helped drive the highest level of political commitment to key global health issues. The HLD on PPR today underplays the seriousness of the crisis the world experienced with the Covid-19 pandemic and fails to provide the level of political support and guidance to the critical negotiations taking place in Geneva for an international instrument and amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005).

The South Centre will continue to support developing countries in these processes and seek to promote constructive dialogue with other UN members and stakeholders.

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Financial Support for CSOs – AMR WAAW 2023

Financial Support for Civil Society Advocacy during World AMR Awareness Week (WAAW) 2023

The South Centre invites applications from the members of the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), other civil society organizations and research institutions from developing countries for limited financial funding (maximum 2000 USD) to design and launch or extend advocacy campaigns engaging communities to address AMR.

The scope of the campaigns can be human health, the human-animal interface, use of antimicrobials in food production systems, and the role of the environment in the transmission and spread of AMR.

The campaigns should take place around the World AMR Awareness Week 2023. The WAAW 2023 Theme is ‘Preventing Antimicrobial Resistance Together”, to be celebrated from 18 to 24 November 2023.

Deadline: 6 October 2023

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Research Paper 184, 15 September 2023

Promoting Jordan’s Use of Compulsory Licensing During the Pandemic

By Laila Barqawi  

This paper addresses the difficulties in utilizing Article 31 bis of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) on compulsory licensing for the export of pharmaceuticals during the pandemic through the case study of Jordan. This paper also recommends that Jordanian officials seek to capitalize on the pandemic whilst the Jordanian Defense Law and Orders are in effect to include Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) as a direct ground for applying compulsory licensing, introduce clauses similar to those introduced by countries who have signed FTAs with the US, as well as deactivate harmful clauses within its national laws that prevent the application and utilization of a compulsory license. Further, Jordanian officials should seek the opportunity, considering the change of stance of the Biden administration towards compulsory licensing, to re-negotiate favourable terms in the Jordanian – US Free Trade Agreement (JUSFTA). Moreover, Jordanian officials should also form a syndicate that calls for the overhauling of TRIPS at Article 31 bis when an EUA is invoked in any country.

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SouthViews No. 250, 10 August 2023

COVID-19, Future Pandemics and the Africa Care Economy Index

By Salimah Valiani

In Africa, the care economy has long been unrecognised. At least since the last major pandemic in Africa, HIV-AIDS, caring work has been severely undervalued in the continent, and the redistribution of caring work, from females in the home and communities, is next to nonexistent. Undoing this structural inequality is crucial to improve health and wellbeing of girls and women in Africa, to be prepared for future pandemics, and to realise Africa’s demographic dividend for the benefit of the majority. To achieve this, the Africa Care Economy Index is offered as a policy, advocacy, and accountability tool.

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Research Paper 180, 9 August 2023

Neglected Dimension of the Inventive Step as Applied to Pharmaceutical and Biotechnological Products: The case of Sri Lanka’s patent law

By Ruwan Fernando

Apart from the basic statutory definition in section 65 of the Intellectual Property Act of Sri Lanka, there do not appear to be any detailed statutory guidelines or judicial decisions to provide any framework for the assessment of inventive step in Sri Lanka. The current statutory definition is highly insufficient to evaluate the standard of obviousness in relation to biotechnological and pharmaceutical claims based on a combination or modification of a prior art reference.

The Courts in both developed and developing countries have adopted a variety of tests to evaluate the obviousness standard of a claimed invention based on a combination or modification of a prior art reference. Sri Lanka, as a developing country, should look at the development that has taken place in other jurisdictions and adapt the patent law to local conditions when developing tests or guidelines in a manner that is compatible with the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and its biotechnology/pharmaceutical policy guidelines.

This approach that is appropriate to Sri Lanka is twofold. First, it is most likely to prevent the issuance of patents on trivial or incremental inventions that do not provide any technical advance to the existing prior art and are a mere extension of what is already known in the prior art. Second, it is most likely to protect genuine technical advances to the existing prior art while at the same time enhancing competition and promoting local innovations so that the local researchers will be able to draw on the existing knowledge for the purpose of follow-on innovations.

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Informe Sobre Políticas 120, 11 de julio de 2023

Hacia una Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Medicamentos (AMLAC)

Por Germán Velásquez

El 26 de abril de 2023 en Acapulco, México, las Autoridades Reguladoras de Medicamentos de Colombia (INVIMA), Cuba (CECMED) y México (COFEPRIS) firmaron la “Declaración de Acapulco” para la creación de la Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Regulación de Medicamentos y Dispositivos Médicos (AMLAC). Esta declaración fué confirmada en Bogotá, Colombia el 16 de junio de 2023 en una reunión titulada “Convergencia regulatoria” por los responsables de las agencias reguladoras de medicamentos de Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba y México que acordaron la creación progresiva de una Agencia Latinoamericana y del Caribe de Medicamentos -AMLAC-.

La AMLAC fué creada para contribuir a la integración regional a través de la armonización y convergencia en materia de regulación sanitaria, la creación de un mercado regional de medicamentos en busca del acceso a medicamentos y dispositivos médicos seguros, eficaces y de calidad.

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Policy Brief 121, 18 July 2023

Assessing the State of Play in the WHO Pandemic Instrument Negotiations

By Viviana Muñoz Tellez

This Policy Brief discusses the state of play of the negotiations of the pandemic instrument at the World Health Organization. The Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) is increasing its meetings as the target deadline for completion in the first half of 2024 draws closer. To advance, the political will needs to be scaled up in the next months. The expectations should not be lowered to focus on the lowest common denominator. Real progress needs to be made in priority areas of concern for developing countries to keep momentum.

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