Food Security and Access and Benefit-Sharing for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
About the book: A study prepared for the UN FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) on whether, and how, national and regional laws, guidelines and other arrangements on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) may impact upon agriculture and food security.
Authors: Gurdial Singh Nijar, Gan Pei Fern, Lee Yin Harn and Chan Hui Yun
Protection and Promotion of Traditional Medicine – Implications for Public Health in Developing Countries
Traditional medicine (TRM) includes knowledge and practices either codified in writing or transmitted orally. TRM serves the health needs of the vast majority of people in developing countries, where access to “modern” health care services and medicine is limited by economic and cultural factors. TRM is broadly used in such countries, often being the only affordable treatment available to poor people and those in remote communities. In a context of persisting poverty and marginalization and, in particular, in view of the high prices generally charged for patented medicines, the relevance of TRM in developing countries may, in the future, increase. TRM has been recognized in western science as a valuable source of products and treatments for health care. It often provides leads for the development and commercialization of new pharmaceutical products. However, western intellectual property systems have regarded TRM, as well as other components of traditional knowledge (TK), as information in the “public domain”, freely available for use by anybody. This has meant that TRM and other traditional knowledge has been exploited in Western contexts without any recognition, moral or economic, to those who originated or held the relevant knowledge. Further, diverse components of TRM have been appropriated under intellectual property rights (IPRs) by researchers and commercial enterprises, without any compensation to the knowledge’s creators or holders. While all these forms of ‘protection’ are important, this paper focuses on issues relating to protection of TRM in the context of IPRs, both as a defensive and offensive strategy. Its main purpose is to try to clarify the extent to which IPRs may be used in relation to TRM, and what the implications of such use may be for public health.
Protection of Data Submitted for the Registration of Pharmaceuticals: Implementing the Standards of the TRIPS Agreement
This study focuses in depth on the specific issue of marketing approval protection under the TRIPS Agreement and its interpretation, an issue of major practical importance for the developing countries. This book is co-published by the World Health Organization and was produced with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Integrating Public Health Concerns into Patent Legislation in Developing Countries
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) requires all WTO Member countries to adapt their laws to the minimum standards set out in the Agreement, within established transitional periods. Conforming with the Agreement by recognizing or strengthening the protection of pharmaceutical products and processes by intellectual property rights (IPRs) has posed a special challenge for developing countries. The way in which the required legislative reform is made may have a significant impact on public health policies, and particularly on the population’s access to drugs.
This document presents options for the design and implementation of public-health-sensitive patent policies in developing countries. It examines approaches to selected issues in patent law that may help to strike a balance between the public and private interests involved in the protection of health-related inventions, including those of States, patients, and of the suppliers of health-related goods and services. This document has been prepared as part of an initiative aimed at exploring health-related aspects of intellectual property rights that may further the needs of the poor and excluded in developing countries. It is primarily addressed to policy makers and others concerned in the field of public health in developing countries.
The issues raised in this report reflect major ongoing concerns about food security in developing countries. Several of these issues were addressed in the “Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of Action”. However, they were dealt with in a somewhat superficial manner. Moreover, Northern interests and the liberalization agenda embedded in the “Washington consensus” heavily influenced this Summit document. More serious for the interests of the South may be that no politically realistic strategy emerged for mobilizing popularly based movements and governments to eliminate hunger.
The purpose of this publication is to emphasize in an integrated manner a set of food security issues and policies of particular concern to peoples and governments of developing countries. The South Centre hopes it will contribute to more effective actions towards universal food security. An earlier version of this paper was prepared as a contribution to discussions at the World Food Summit held at FAO Headquarters, 13-17 November 1996.