Making Intellectual Property Work for Global Health
Connotea Imports 2012-03-08
Abstract: Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are often conceived narrowly from the vantage point of offering incentives for private sector investment in research and development (R&D), but the legal regime of IPRs can also work to improve access to public goods for global health, particularly for those disadvantaged by destitution and disease. The WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPOA), adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2008, calls for an “enhanced and sustainable basis for needs-driven, essential health research and development relevant to diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries.” How knowledge is generated, owned, and harnessed to support pro-poor development is at the heart of this effort. New approaches to tiering, pooling, and open-source collaboration have resulted from the struggle to deliver affordable treatments for AIDS and neglected diseases. In examining how intellectual property rights can most effectively and strategically support developing countries in implementing this ambitious and potentially catalytic agenda in enabling innovation for global health, this paper seeks to outline a coherent and strategic approach to address human development needs and to facilitate the harnessing of innovation and the sharing of knowledge for global health.