International cooperation on public health is inherently multi dimensional, with a focus on building effective health systems. Towards this goal, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been working closely together, along with other international partners, for almost two decades to support global endeavours to improve health outcomes. As part of their efforts to help countries develop the capacity to deal with multi-dimensional challenges in the public health sector, the three organizations have launched the second edition of the trilateral study on Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation.
Access to essential medicines and the lack of research to address neglected diseases have been a major concern for many years. To promote innovation and to ensure equitable access to all vital medical technologies, such as medicines, vaccines and medical devices, policy-makers need a clear understanding of the innovation processes that lead to new technologies and the ways in which these technologies are disseminated. This publication seeks to improve understanding of the interplay between the distinct policy domains of health, trade and intellectual property, and how they affect medical innovation and access to medical technologies.
This second edition captures new developments in key areas since the launch of the first study in 2013. Among the new topics covered in this edition are antimicrobial resistance and cutting-edge health technologies. The publication provides updated data on health, innovation trends in the pharmaceutical sector, and trade and tariffs relating to medical products. It includes an updated overview of access to medical technologies globally and key provisions in regional trade agreements. It also takes account of developments in intellectual property legislation and jurisprudence.
Since this study was completed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, a standalone section on COVID-19 was added at the start of the publication to map the multiple challenges posed by the pandemic in relation to the integrated health, trade and IP policy frameworks set out in the study. It guides the reader to the parts of the main text that are particularly relevant to the issues raised during the pandemic.
The publication is the result of a collaborative effort by the WHO, WIPO and the WTO, drawing together the three secretariats' respective areas of expertise. It is intended to inform ongoing technical cooperation activities undertaken by the three organizations and to support policy discussions.
Drawing on longstanding experiences in joint technical cooperation activities, the publication has been prepared to serve the needs of policy-makers as well as lawmakers, government officials, delegates to international organizations, non-governmental organizations and researchers.