WIPO General Assembly 2019: KEI statement on the Report on the SCP

On Thursday, 3 October 2019, Knowledge Ecology International delivered the following statement on Agenda item 16, Report on the SCP.

As part of the WIPO Secretariat’s review of existing research on patents and access to medical products and health technologies, we would request the International Bureau to include in its review, a WHO/UNDP publication, entitled, “Remuneration Guidelines for Non-Voluntary Use of a Patent on Medical Technologies” published in 2005 and WIPO’s 2014 study on WIPO published a study on alternatives to the patent system to support R&D efforts (CDIP/14/INF/12).

In May 2019, the World Health Assembly (WHA) passed a resolution on transparency, WHA72.8. Operative paragraph 2.6 of the resolution requested WHO’s Director-General to “continue supporting existing efforts to determine the patent status of health products and promote publicly available user-friendly patent status information databases for public health actors.”

As part of WIPO’s trilateral cooperation obligations, we request that the SCP discuss the implementation of WHO transparency resolution, including the following issues.

  • What can be done to address the lack of transparency for patent landscapes relating to biologic drugs and new cell and gene therapies?
  • What should be done to have better information sharing over the litigation over patent validity and scope?
  • Should a UN agency rely upon the IFPMA to manage this project, given conflicts of interest?

KEI proposes the SCP discuss the measures that member states can undertake to make the licensing of patents based upon public sector research more transparent.

We reiterate our call for the SCP to discuss the role of patents in the development of and access to new cell and gene therapies. Among the topics to be considered are the extent to which patent exceptions for the treatment of humans apply, as well as the high costs and anti-competitive nature of licensing the emerging thickets of patents for these treatments.