WHO Workshop on Intellectual Property Rights and Vaccines in Developing Countries

World Health Organization,
Geneva, Switzerland
19 - 20 April 2004

Organized by the WHO Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals department. The purpose of the meeting was:

i) to review how intellectual property protection affects access to vaccines in developing countries.

ii) to hear the views of all stakeholders on the subject;

iii) to discuss possible directions and options for ensuring an appropriate balance between stimulating R&D and enhancing access to most needed vaccines in developing countries; and

iv) to provide an informal input on the above issues to the WHO Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation, and Public Health.

The meeting was primarily an opportunity for the participants (representing OECD and developing country manufacturers, public-private partnerships in vaccine R&D, public sector research institutions, international organizations and NGOs) to exchange views and share their experiences on a potentially controversial but relatively unexplored topic.

The importance of vaccines and immunization for public health is widely recognized. However, the debate on intellectual property and access to pharmaceuticals has developed with relatively few references to vaccines.

A number of presentations were made during the meeting. The first set of presentations introduced the intertwined aspects of IP in terms of access to vaccines, vaccine R&D and technology transfer. The next session addressed the role of intellectual property in technology transfer and vaccine production in developing countries. Participants heard presentations from the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (IFPMA), the Developing Country Vaccine Manufacturer Network (DCVMN) and an independent expert.

Various Public-Private Partnerships who develop vaccines (the Meningitis Vaccine Project, the South African AIDS Vaccine Initiative, the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative and the Malaria Vaccine Initiative) presented their approach to intellectual property. The session on intellectual property and vaccine R&D was concluded by a presentation from the National Institutes of Health on the goals and features of its technology transfer policy.

Presentations that were given during the meeting can be found on the right hand column under the heading 'Presentations to Download'. The report of the meeting will be available online shortly.

Background Documents


For more information contact:

Mr Miloud Kaddar
World Health Organization
Access to Technologies
Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals
Telephone: +41 22 791 1436
Email: kaddarm@who.int

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Presentations to download