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WHO sub-group meets on global strategy for intellectual property rights -

A sub-group meeting of the WHO's Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights was recently held. The IGWG is the main body under the WHO that deals with the related issues of IPRs, innovation for new medicines, and access to medicines. The sub-group meeting aimed to provide inputs to the next full meeting of the IGWG to be held from April 28 - May 3, 2008.

The World Health Assembly has tasked the sub-group with producing a global strategy and a plan of action based on recommendations of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH) and also to promote and fund health research and development relevant to diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries.

Diplomats from developing countries, after the meeting ended, remarked that there was only slow progress. The IGWG and the sub-group are considering eight elements for the global strategy and a separate plan of action. These include prioritising research and development needs; promoting research and development; building and improving innovative capacity; transfer of technology; management of intellectual property; improving delivery and access; insuring sustainable financing mechanisms; and establishing monitoring and reporting systems.

The WHO Secretariat issued three papers for the sub-group. The first is a report by the Chair of the indicators sub-group. The second paper, compiled by the Secretariat, contains a table containing specific actions listed in the Plan of Action (as drawn up at the IGWG's second session) with other columns specifying the stakeholders (that will take action), the time frame, and progress indicators for each action. The third paper contains the Secretariat's views on 'Summary Indicators/Reporting Components'.

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