Promoting access to medical technologies and innovation. Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade.
Medical technologies -- medicines, vaccines and medical devices -- are essential for public health. Access to essential medicines and the lack of research to address neglected diseases have been a major concern for many years. More recently, the focus of health policy debate has broadened to consider how to promote innovation and how to ensure equitable access to all vital medical technologies. Today’s health policy-makers need a clear understanding both of the innovation processes that lead to new technologies and of the ways in which these technologies are disseminated in health systems. This study captures a broad range of experience and data in dealing with the interplay between intellectual property, trade rules and the dynamics of access to, and innovation in, medical technologies. The study is intended to inform ongoing technical cooperation activities undertaken by the three organizations (World Trade Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and World Health Organization) and to support policy discussions. Based on many years of field experience in technical cooperation, the study has been prepared to serve the needs of policymakers who seek a comprehensive presentation of the full range of issues, as well as lawmakers, government officials, delegates to international organizations, non-governmental organizations and researchers.