Inflection Point? TRIPS Waiver proposal

THE TRIPS WAIVER PROPOSAL – AN IDEA WHOSE TIME HAS COME? Picture this, more than half a year into the pandemic of COVID-19, upwards of 38 million infections, a million and more lives lost; vaccine nationalism embraced by politicians of all stripes; hedged bets on numerous bilateral deals; short-termist planning for vaccines for a pandemic that might last years; economies in dire straits; limited manufacturing capacities; inadequate supply of all medical products; all this on the back of rising infections and mortality, with millions still susceptible. We are here. And now consider this, a new legal measure which in one … Continue reading Inflection Point? TRIPS Waiver proposal

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“Policy Coherence” in the pandemic?

What the trilateral report on public health, IP and trade, says on the pandemic? A range of policy options drawn from different disciplines, is shaping the response to the pandemic, particularly in making medical products more accessible. From the use of flexibilities in copyrights for text and data mining to help drug discovery, to the use of competition policy to improve access to testing; from temporarily relaxing procurement rules, to easing regulatory processes; among many others. Many may lament that the pandemic is yet to witness any meaningful sharing of information and technologies. And yet, these limitations are in part … Continue reading “Policy Coherence” in the pandemic?

The re-emergence of the WTO as a key forum for global health

ANALYSIS OF THE TRIPS COUNCIL MEETING JULY 30,2020 The coronavirus pandemic is slowly, but surely casting the World Trade Organization as a significant platform that could witness systematic efforts at the multilateral level to ensure better access to health products. This could be in the form of more formal deliberations amongst members to find ways to neutralise barriers to intellectual property, and not just patents, but other types of constraints that have affected access to diagnostics and health technologies. This pandemic has already brought into sharp focus, the inability to quickly provide essential diagnostics and medical products as a result … Continue reading The re-emergence of the WTO as a key forum for global health

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Trade in the time of the pandemic

THE TRADE IN MEDICAL PRODUCTS: THE STATE OF PLAY With every passing week in the prevailing pandemic, there is an urgency to understand and provide for the access to medical products and services. But what constitutes the trade in these crucial products? Who sells, who buys, how does it flow and what happens if it doesn’t? Geneva Health Files looks closely at the story of international trade that makes available medicines and medical services within existing constraints. The pandemic has shown how the restrictions in these pathways, puts the most vulnerable communities at risk of lacking access to both. The … Continue reading Trade in the time of the pandemic

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Elections at the World Trade Organization

Rising protectionism sparks keen interest in saving the multilateral trading system   As home to World Health Organization, Geneva is already at the centre of pandemic-related policy making. Last week saw yet another flurry of activity, on the shores of Lac Léman – at the World Trade Organization. Face-masked officials accompanied interested candidates who were there to present their case to become the next chief of the international trade body. At a time when WTO’s leadership is needed most, when world merchandise trade could fall by a third, the current WTO Chief Roberto Azevêdo will step down at the end … Continue reading Elections at the World Trade Organization

Public health & tobacco plain packaging: Q&A with Benn McGrady, WHO

Q&A with Benn McGrady, Technical Officer (Legal), Public Health Law and Policies, Health Promotion (HPR) at World Health Organization. Geneva Health Files reached out to Benn McGrady, a health law expert. He speaks about what the recent WTO Appellate Body ruling on tobacco plain packaging, means for public health. McGrady an expert on the matter, is the author of the book Trade and Public Health: The WTO, Tobacco, Alcohol, and Diet , Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011. The following are his responses to queries sent on email. 1. The significance of the ruling for public health and non-communicable diseases in … Continue reading Public health & tobacco plain packaging: Q&A with Benn McGrady, WHO