SCP27: KEI statement on patents and health

On Tuesday, 12 December 2017, Knowledge Ecology International delivered the following intervention at the 27th session of the WIPO Standing Committee of the Law of Patents during discussions of a work program on patents and health.

Knowledge Ecology International reiterates our strong support for the African proposal contained in document SCP/24/4 on a work program for patents and health. We urge the SCP to schedule a presentation by experts on the legal basis and experience of states in permitting the non-voluntary use of patents on medical inventions as a limitation on the remedies available in Part 3 of TRIPS, including cases of running royalties for infringement of medical devices and diagnostic tests, and the export of those products outside of the WTO 31bis framework.

Furthermore, I would like to draw the Committee’s attention to the recommendations of the World Health Organization’s overall programme review of the global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property, published on November 30th, 2017. The expert panel specifically recommended the WHO and its Member States expand work on the transparency of R&D costs and the prices of medicines, in addition to encouraging the “implementation of schemes which partially or wholly delink product prices from research and development costs.”

In relation to the work of this Committee, we recommend the following:

In 2014, WIPO published a study on alternatives to the patent system – including delinkage – to support R&D efforts, in CDIP/14/INF/12. We suggest this study be presented at SCP28 under the agenda item on Patents and Health.

We also suggest the Canadian/Swiss proposal be expanded to address issues relating to transparency as it relates to the litigation over patent validity and scope, the economic aspects of drug development and commercialization, including the costs of R&D and the prices and revenues of products, as well as the utilization and gaps in access for new drugs.