On Wednesday, 24 September 2014, Knowledge Ecology International delivered the following statement at the 2014 WIPO General Assembly on agenda item 13, Report of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) and Review of the Implementation of the Development Agenda Recommendations.
13. Report of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) and Review of the Implementation of the Development Agenda Recommendations
Statement of Knowledge Ecology International
The WIPO CDIP has a very important mission, to ensure there is continued support for the development dimension in WIPO’s work. In practical terms, this is some combination of helping member states implement appropriate intellectual property rules and management systems, and correcting some obvious flaws in the way IPR has been implemented in developing countries.
On the issue of patents, it is in the interests of developing countries to grant few domestic patents, while allowing their own inventors to file patents in wealthier foreign markets. In practice, a number of developing countries are excessively permissive in granting patents. The most obvious consequence of this policy failure is in the area of cancer drugs, where there is almost no access to new patented cancer drugs. Because people in these countries actually have cancer, this lack of access has predictable and unacceptable consequences, involving avoidable death and suffering. WIPO can be part of the solution or part of the problem, and that goes also to individual negotiators, who are now wasting considerable time at WIPO without making much of a difference in terms of expanding access to new cancer drugs.
KEI is disappointed in the performance of the Global Challenges group at WIPO, and suggest the CDIP invite suggestions on how Global Challenges can address the obvious and scandalous inequality in terms of access to cancer drugs.
The work of the WIPO Chief Economist could be used to provide basic economic analysis of the patent and copyright systems in developing countries, including, for example, by evaluating the impact of restrictive and permissive patent grants on access to medicine, and on development of domestic pharmaceutical industries, with some numbers that make the debate on these issues more grounded in evidence.
The WIPO Chief Economist could also provide some insight into the economies of scale necessary to manufacture low cost biologic drugs, and the policy options for reducing entry barriers for biosimilar suppliers for biologic drugs and vaccines.