Intellectual Property Rights: Access to Existing and New Medicines and Vaccines

UN Chronicle, March-May 2006 | Go to article overview

Intellectual Property Rights: Access to Existing and New Medicines and Vaccines


An independent Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health formally presented its report to the WHO Director-General, Dr. Lee Jong-wook, recommending key actions needed to ensure that poor people in developing countries have access to existing and new products to diagnose, treat and prevent diseases that affect them most. The report contains more than 50 recommendations that serve as a road map for tackling the issues in different country settings. "We are grateful to the Commissioners for undertaking this difficult task. With this report, the Commission has built a solid foundation from which countries can move forward. I encourage all countries to give serious consideration to their role in addressing these critical issues", Dr. Lee said.

Over half of the people in the poorest parts of Africa and Asia lack regular access to existing essential medicines because they cannot afford them or their country's health system is too weak. Apart from access to existing medicines, some health products, specifically for diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries, are simply not developed at all due to the lack of a sustainable market. …

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