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WHO announces the membership of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health

The Director-General of WHO, Dr LEE Jong-wook, today announced the members of the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation and Public Health (CIPIH). The Commission has been established as a result of a resolution at the 2003 World Health Assembly (WHA56.27).

The resolution called for WHO to establish a time-limited body to “produce an analysis of intellectual property rights, innovation, and public health, including the question of appropriate funding and incentive mechanisms for the creation of new medicines and other products against diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries.” The terms of reference and criteria for selection of Members are contained in a document submitted to WHO’s Executive Board in January 2004.

The Chairperson of the Commission will be Ms Ruth Dreifuss. She was a member of the Swiss Government between 1993-2002 and served as President of the Swiss Confederation in 1999. As Federal Minister of Interior her responsibilities included, amongst others, public health and scientific research.

The vice-Chair will be Dr Ragunath Anand Mashelkar, who is the Director-General of India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, one of the largest chains of industrial research and development institutions in the world.

The other eight members of the Commission are (in alphabetical order):

  • Professor Carlos Correa, a lawyer and economist from Argentina, is Director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies on Industrial Property and Economics Law, at the University of Buenos Aires.
  • Professor Mahmoud Fathalla is a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, former Dean of the Medical School at Assiut University, Egypt, and Chair of the WHO Advisory Committee on Health Research.
  • Dr Maria Freire is Chief Executive Officer of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development, and previously directed the Office of Technology Transfer at the US National Institutes of Health from 1995 to 2001.
  • Professor Trevor Jones is Director-General of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, and was previously Director of Research and Development at the Wellcome Foundation Limited.
  • Mr Tshediso Matona, an economist and trade policy expert, is Deputy Director-General in South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry.
  • Professor Fabio Pammolli is Professor of Economics and Management at the University of Florence. He is the Director of European Pharmaceutical Regulation and Innovation Systems at the University of Siena.
  • Professor Pakdee Pothisiri, with a background in public health research, is Senior Deputy Permanent Secretary of Health, Government of Thailand, and formerly Secretary General of the Thai Food and Drug Administration.
  • Professor Hiroko Yamane is Professor of International Economic Law, Economic Law and European Community Law at the Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo, specialising in trade law, competition and intellectual property rights.

The Commissioners are appointed in their individual capacity rather than as the representative of an institution or government body, and will have complete independence in carrying out their work. The Commission will be supported by reference groups for the purposes of consulting key stakeholders, including the research and development-based industry and civil society groups. It intends to hold its first meeting in Geneva in late March. Throughout its work, it will be supported by a Secretariat within WHO which will help it to organise the programme of consultations, studies and other activities necessary for drafting the report. It will submit its report to WHO’s Executive Board in January 2005.

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For more information contact:

Ms Christine McNab
Telephone: +41 22 791 4688
Mobile phone: +41 79 254 6815
E-mail: mcnabc@who.int