Millennium Development Goal 5
Improve Maternal Health
Reduce by three quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio
5.1 Maternal mortality ratio
5.2 Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel
Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health
5.3 Contraceptive prevalence rate
5.4 Adolescent birth rate
5.5 Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit and at least four visits)
5.6 Unmet need for family planning
What WIPO is Doing on MDG 4, 5 and 6
The IP system, and in particular the patent system, can play a pivotal role in relation to health-related development objectives, i.e. those relating to child mortality (MDG 4), maternal health (MDG 5), combating malaria, HIV/AIDS and other forms of diseases in developing countries and LDCs (MDG 6) and providing access to affordable essential drugs (MDG 8, Target 4), given the centrality of patents in relation to innovation in the pharmaceutical field and the potential effects on access to medicines.
WIPO has a central role in the international policy debate on intellectual property in the context of public health. In cooperation with other partners, WIPO, through its recently established Program on Global Challenges and IP, the Patent Program and its Programs on the development of a Global IP Infrastructure, aims to serve as a source of solid, technically sound and neutral information on current policy issues in this area. This includes, for example, the organization of a series of highly topical public policy symposia focused on the interface of IP and public health in order to facilitate factual exchange of views and experiences; the development of practical information tools in the form of policy briefs on current and emerging issues in this area; the analysis of the patent landscape in key areas of technology with the view to making information stemming from the intellectual property system more widely and easily available; and the provision of legislative advice to Member States in line with countries’ development needs and priorities making use of the flexibilities available under the international IP system. With respect to the latter, a separate document (CDIP/5/4) was presented to the WIPO Committee on Development and Intellectual Property on Patent-Related Flexibilities in the Multilateral Legal Framework and their Legislative Implementation at the National and Regional Levels.
The cooperation and dialog with other international partners, such as WHO, WTO, and UNCTAD, but also with regional and national organizations as well as with NGOs, the private sector and academia, is an important aspect of WIPO’s work in the area of public health. WIPO has engaged actively with the WHO in the context of the adoption of the Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (GSPOA) and has committed itself to working closely with the WHO and the WTO to identify and provide its contribution to the implementation of the GSPOA. Furthermore, WIPO supports with its IP expertise the Intergovernmental Meeting (IGM) on Pandemic Influenza Preparedness: Sharing of Influenza Viruses and Access to Vaccines and other Benefits (e.g. through the development of a Working Paper on Patent Issues Related to Influenza Viruses and their Genes, which included a preliminary Patent Landscape for the H5 virus); the initiative of the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) to set up an African Network for Drugs and Diagnostics Innovation (ANDI); and the UNITAID Medicines Patent Pool Initiative that aims at establishing a voluntary patent pool for medicines with an initial focus on increasing access to newer antiretroviral medicines and encouraging the development of new formulations. WIPO also participates actively, in cooperation with WTO, in training activities on intellectual property and its public health implications.
The current work of the WIPO Standing Committee on Patents relates directly to these Goals and their targets, including work on technology transfer and work on exclusions to patentability and exceptions and limitations to patent rights, where a preliminary study prepared by the WIPO Secretariat was submitted to the Committee. A broader study on the same issue prepared by external experts will also be submitted at a later session of the Committee. In addition, WIPO organized a Conference on IP and Public Policy Issues in July 2009, which also addressed issues relating to public health. More broadly, given WIPO’s mandate as a forum to discuss issues, facilitate coordination and provide guidance concerning the development of balanced international patent law, and the important role of patents in relation to innovation in the field of pharmaceuticals and access to medicines, the work of the Committee contributes to the ability of countries to attain the health-related MDGs.