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[e-drug] MSF in relation to the WIPO announcement

  • From: Joanna.KEENAN@geneva.msf.org
  • Date: Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:56:04 +0200

E-DRUG: MSF in relation to the WIPO announcement

Please find below a reactive statement from Medecins Sans Frontieres in
relation to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) announcement today
(http://www.wipo.int/pressroom/en/articles/2011/article_0026.html) on the
creation of the Research consortium for neglected tropical diseases, tuberculosis and malaria.

WIPO NTD consortium access provisions set a bad precedent by excluding
countries and patients

'Any initiative that seeks to harness biomedical innovation to improve
global health is welcome, and the principle of open access to compound
libraries and regulatory data is one that we support. But WIPO is taking an
unacceptable step in the wrong direction by setting the bar for access too

The purpose of this initiative is to spur innovation to benefit patients
with neglected tropical diseases. This means access provisions need to be
put in place to ensure the fruits of that innovation reaches those most in
need. But instead of allowing all countries where neglected diseases are
prevalent to access the products, the initiative restricts royalty-free
licences to least-developed countries only, with access for other
developing countries negotiable on a case by case basis.

The vast majority of patients affected by NTDs belong to poor, remote
communities; those called the 'bottom billion'. People treated by MSF for
visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar) in India or for Chagas disease in
Bolivia and Paraguay belong to the poorest populations of these countries,
not to their middle classes.

Many patients affected by NTDs are not in least-developed countries. In the
Americas, for example, Chagas disease affects 21 countries, but the
Consortium will only provide royalty-free licences for Haiti, where Chagas
is not endemic.

WIPO is a norm-setting agency - and one mandated through the WIPO
Development Agenda to facilitate access to knowledge and technology for all
developing countries including LDCs. By agreeing to licensing terms that
have an unacceptably limited geographic scope, WIPO is taking a step in the
wrong direction and setting a bad precedent for other licensing

With its timid approach to licensing terms, WIPO is falling behind in its
access policies, when it should be leading. WIPO needs to expand the scope
of this initiative to cover, as a minimum, all disease-endemic developing

MSF Access Campaign director Dr Tido von Schoen-Angerer

Joanna Keenan
Press Officer
Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines
Medecins Sans Frontieres