New report provides guidelines for the examination of patent applications relating to pharmaceuticals

The United Nations Development Programme has released a new publication, titled Guidelines for the Examination of Patent Applications relating to Pharmaceuticals, which aims at providing guidance for countries to enhance the functioning and transparency of the patent system for the timely and affordable access to lifesaving treatment. Affordable access to treatment is closely linked with the aspiration to ensure health and well-being for all, as embodied in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3.

This publication examines initiatives in countries such as Argentina, Ecuador, India and the Philippines; which have taken steps to factor in public health considerations into the examination of patent applications. This approach recognizes the key role that patent offices and patent examiners play in safeguarding the appropriate balance between protecting the rights of inventors and incentivizing innovation, and promoting accessibility and affordability of treatments. The publication proposes a number of recommendations on guidelines that can be adopted as criteria for the examination of patent applications, so that the public health perspective is properly integrated into the procedures for the granting of patents on pharmaceuticals.

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Laws criminalizing drug possession can cause more harm

By Tenu Avafia, Team Leader, Rights, Law and Treatment Access, HIV, Health and Development and Rebecca Schleifer, Consultant, HIV, Human Rights and the Law

In many countries, a criminal record, even for a minor offense, can have serious implications. Being convicted of a crime makes you ineligible for certain jobs, social programmes or benefits or from even being able to exercise your right to vote.

A criminal record can also severely limit the ability to travel to certain countries and can result in the loss of custody of minor children. As prison conditions are often poor and health care services limited, a custodial sentence can have negative impacts on the person's health.

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We Cannot Achieve Gender Equality without Drug Policy Reform

By Patrick Tindana, Consultant, UNDP

On 27th September, 2015, UN Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These ambitious goals aim to “end poverty and hunger…to ensure that all human beings can fulfill their potential in dignity and equality...” by 2030.  Notably, governments also committed to “reaching the furthest behind first”.  It follows then that, in order to realize these goals, women who use drugs and or who are marginalized by the current drug control systems deserve specific attention.

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UN High-Level Panel: Ideas For Change To Global Health And IP System Proliferate

Public health advocates, academics, patients, governments and others this week presented further ideas to the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines on ways to break the longstanding pattern of expensive medical products around the world as a way to pay for research and development.

The second public dialogue of the High-Level Panel took place in Johannesburg, South Africa on 17 March, a day after closed-door meetings with a range of experts who submitted written comments to the panel. A first public dialogue was held in London last week (IPW, Public Health, 11 March 2016).

The full Johannesburg webcast is available here.

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The latest issue of our Newsletter - December 2015 - is out!

The latest issue of our Newsletter - December 2015 - is out! Follow the link below to get caught up on updates and key developments related to HIV and the law. In this issue you'll find a compilation of recent news articles and stories of implementation of the recommendations of the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, with links to access the full articles on the web.

Read the Newsletter