Public Comments by Brian Pomper-Executive Director of the Innovation Alliance and Alliance for Fair Trade with India
Brian Arthur Pomper is a partner at the law firm of Akin Gump.
Mr. Pomper formerly served as chief international trade counsel to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT). In that role, he was responsible for advising Chairman Baucus and other members of the Senate Finance Committee on all aspects of the Committee’s international trade and economic agenda.
Special 301: NFTC puts plain packaging policies of Australia, EU, Thailand, UK, Ireland and New Zealand under the spotlight
The National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) submission (7 February 2014, Docket USTR-2013-0040) to USTR's 2014 Special 301 Review contains a section on plain packaging policies in the context of the protection of trademarks.
The Alliance for Fair Trade with India (AFTI) was created in June 2013, to lobby for "increased action to address the erosion of intellectual property rights ("IPR") in India." According to the group, it is "comprised of organizations representing a range of U.S. industries adversely impacted by India's troubling and frequently discriminatory policies, including manufacturing, agriculture, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and beyond."
NFTC, a US trade association, asks USTR to sanction China for issuing and enforcing "junk patents" (2014 submission)
A February 7, 2014 Special 301 submission from the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC) asks USTR to bring trade sanctions against China for granting and enforcing "junk patents." The NFTC also wants patent enforcement to be strickly a private civil remedy (Contrast to the USTR demands that countries implement linkage between drug registration and patents), and complains about China rules that would require employers to more fairly compensation the Chinese inventors they
Attached in the February 7, 2014, KEI Special 301 Submission.
KEI was a web page with more context on the Special 301 reports, including links to several submissions, and all Special 301 Reports from 1989 to 2013 (all that exist), here: http://keionline.org/ustr/special301
Transcript of Bayer CEO Marjin Dekkers quote at the December 3, 2013 FT Event, regarding India compulsory license of Nexavar
On January 21, 2014, Ketaki Gokhale of Bloomberg published a story in Businessweek on disputes over drug patents. The story closed with a rather sinister quote attributed to Bayer CEO Marijn Dekkers, "We did not develop this medicine for Indians.
US International Trade Commission Hearing, "Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy"
Next week, the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) will hold a two-day hearing on "Trade, Investment, and Industrial Policies in India: Effects on the US Economy." The first session will take place Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 1:00pm and the second session will convene on Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 9:30am. Both sessions will be held at the ITC in the Main Hearing Room (room 101) at 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC.
Composition of the WIPO Coordination Committee: 83 countries invested with power to nominate the WIPO Director General
According to a press release issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on 6 December 2013, four candidatures for the post of Director General were received before the deadline for nominations (5 PM, 6 December 2013) expired.
The WIPO press release noted that,
The candidates are (in alphabetical order of names of candidates): Mr. Francis Gurry (Australia), Mr. Geoffrey Onyeama (Nigeria), Mr. Jüri Seilenthal (Estonia), and Mr. Alfredo Suescum (Panama).
WIPO norm-setting on IP and genetic resources: will impasse on mandatory disclosure and the nature of instrument be resolved?
It is crunch time for WIPO's Intergovernmental Committee on Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore (IGC). The 26th session meets from 3-7 February 2014 in Geneva. This week's session will focus on setting international norms for the protection of genetic resources against misappropriation and resolving two key areas of divergence: 1) the nature of the instrument and 2) the disclosure of origin requirement.
UPDATED- SCP20: Current state of play as countries clash on patents and health (WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents)
On Friday, 31 January 2014 (6:30 PM Geneva time) the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) resumed in plenary mode to discuss the facilitator's text (Mr. Victor Portelli, Australia) on the future work of this committee including activities on 1) Exceptions and Limitations to Patent Rights, 2) Quality of Patents, including Opposition Systems, 3) Patents and Health, 4 Confidentiality of communications between clients and their patent advisors and 5) Transfer of Technology.
Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) is a promising and inspiring international student network focusing on access to medicines and biomedical innovation. They have a strong presence in the US and Germany and are growing all over Europe with local chapters. Most of them are undergrad medical students even though there are law and global health students involved as well.
The conference entitled “Shooting up-Raising expectations about R&D” organised by the UK branch on 25 January 2013 in UCL had a great line-up of prominent speakers among whom Nobel laureate Sir John Hulston, Katy Athersuch (MSF Access Campaign), James Love and David Hammerstein (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=141b9vyTkWU). The conference came at a very timely moment, just days after the remarks by Bayer CEO Decker who stated that a new cancer drug is not for Indians but for western patients who can afford it and in the midst of the pharmagate scandal in South Africa over Pharma lobbying against lower prices for life saving medicines. Sir Robin Jacob, Professor of intellectual property Law at UCL opened the conference explaining that patents are not to be blamed for the problems we are faced with today in accessible and affordable medicines but instead patentes are fermenters of innovation. He also critisized compulsory-licensing as well as strict regulation but was unable to give any concrete answers when asked about the serious access to medicines crisis in many parts of the world, rich and poor. He defended the wildly exaggerated 1bn myth regarding the cost of the development of a each new drug, belittled the contribution of pubic research funding and stood firmly by the view that there is no alternative solution to strong patent monopolies.
All the other speakers opposed Sir Jacob´s strong pro-IPR stances and their over arching theme was that public health should not be treated as any other commodity but as a common good which needs to be available to everyone. Many of the problems that societies have to cope with today, in terms of affordable, access to medicines, stem from the current IP-dominated medical innovation model which is obviously broken and is no longer delivering the medicnes people need. To put it simply, patents create monopolies which skyrocket drug prices. It was also clear that access to affordable life-saving treatments is no longer a problem of the developing world as big pharmaceutical industries tend to present it. but It affects affects large parts of the developed world including the US and Europe. As Sir Sulston put it “in improving justice in health, we contribute to the future of humanity”. Moreover, he emphasized the importance of scientific research as through science we understand ourselves better.In this respect, he sounded the alarm in relation to the fact that research carried out by universities is increasingly linked to and guided by commercial interests. This is why; he stressed a) the need to rebalance scientific research toward the public interest and b) the promotion of open data and open science so as to fully take advantage of the potential of public investment. He criticized the fact that what is expected today from non-profit funding of research is actually making profit through patents. He added that this profit is not reinvested in further discovery but on the contrary, it is channelled into marketing, publicity and into coercing government and international officials.
UAEM’s initiatives are very worthwhile and serve multiple purposes as they fully support an open, health needs-driven innovation model that favour access to medicines as opposed to closed, market-driven patent monopolies. Hundreds of future health professionals are forging a fairer future for affordable, high quality biomedical innovation. They are trying to place patients before patents, health before profits, a moral imperative on which millions of lives depend.
Yannis Natsis, TACD
Statement by Kenya
Agenda Item No. 8: Patents and Health, 28th January 2014
Thank you Mr. Chairman for giving Kenya the floor.
Kenya supports the statement made by Algeria on behalf of the African Group and the proposal put forward by the Group and the DAG.
28 January 2014
Thank you Chair.
Intervention of India at EB134 expressing solidarity with the Republic of South Africa in light of Pharmagate
During heated discussions on the topic of access to essential medicines at the 134th session of the World Health Organization's Executive Board, India delivered the following statement on Thursday, 23 January 2014 expressing solidarity with the Republic of South Africa in light of the Pharmagate exposé.
SCP20: Opening statement of the European Union at WIPO's Standing Committee on the Law of Patents, 27 January 2014
On 27 January 2014, Greece, on behalf of the European Union, delivered this opening statement at the 20th session of WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP). The EU's priorities for WIPO's patent committee include quality of patents (including opposition systems), work sharing and confidentiality of communication between client and their patent advisors.
With respect to limitations and exceptions to patent rights, the EU said,
Protect patients, not patents
SIR – You argued that “protection should not be weakened” on pharmaceutical patents (“The new drugs war”, January 4th). Drug patents protect drug-companies’ profits, not patients. The industry promotes several myths to justify its outlandish prices, such as that it costs $1 billion to develop a new medicine, that private companies pay for all drug R&D costs (government and tax-subsidised institutions contribute heavily), that stronger patent protection equates to more innovation and that people in America and Europe must subsidise the rest of the world’s medicines.
The truth is that pharmaceutical companies charge high prices and reap enormous profits because they can. Tiered pricing not only blocks access for most of the world’s poor, it also does nothing to bring down costs. As a medical organisation providing treatment for tuberculosis, HIV and other diseases, it has long been clear to us that the current system for medical innovation is broken. Today, millions of people in both rich and poor countries are staring at a steady wave of diseases that come with age, and realise they can’t afford to pay for the medicines to treat them.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal in its current form will only exacerbate this growing health crisis by allowing drug firms to extend monopolies beyond the 20 years already guaranteed under global trade rules, as well as limiting governments’ ability to regulate prices.
Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign
* SIR – The amount of money pharmaceutical companies report to spend on researching and developing new medicines is notoriously secretive. Companies tell us they spend $1.5 billion annually, but this information (based on a single study funded by the companies themselves) has not been independently verified.
Also, the pharmaceutical industry has been pricing its patent medicines differently in developing countries for decades, yet despite companies’ claims to the contrary these products have not flooded American or European markets.
Developing countries rely on generic medicines to meet their needs, and not off-patent branded medicines as your article claimed. You praised Roche for selling its products cheaply in Egypt but did not mention that they only did so after an Egyptian generic company, Minapharm, manufactured and sold drugs at a third of the original price..
Dr Mohga Kamal-Yanni
Senior Health Policy Adviser for Oxfam
Intervention of the South Centre at EB134 expressing solidarity with the Republic of South Africa (English translation)
This is the English translation of the intervention delivered by the South Centre on Thursday, 23 January 2014 at the 134th session of the World Health Organization's Executive Board expressing solidarity with the Government of the Republic of South Africa following the Pharmagate exposé.
Thank you, Madam President, for giving us the floor.
Three NGOs, Medicus Mundi International, HAI and MSF, each read statements during the EB discussions on the CEWG demonstration projects. The statements were limited to 300 words, and NGOs were required to provide the text 24 hours before the agenda item, and obtain WHO approval of the content. KEI worked with HAI on its statement, and the Peoples Health Movement worked with MMI on its statement. The text of the HAI and MMI statements follow:
Health Action International (HAI) statement to EB 134 On agenda item 9.3, follow up to CEWG on financing and coordination
The following are some quotes by countries, companies, academics and other actors stating, suggesting or implying claiming that drugs not on the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines (WHO EML) should not be subject to a compulsory license.
Bayer. Political Principles.
Innovation requires investment.
Good ideas must be worthwhile.