WHO, WIPO, WTO Trilateral Cooperation on Public Health, IP and Trade

The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are strengthening their cooperation and practical coordination on issues around public health, intellectual property (IP) and trade.

The three organizations meet regularly, exchange information on their respective work programs and discuss and plan, within the possibilities of their respective mandates and budgets, common activities. The trilateral cooperation is intended to contribute to enhancing the empirical and factual information basis for policy makers and supporting them in addressing public health in relation to IP and trade.

The WHO Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and IP, the WIPO Development Agenda and the WTO Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and public health, provide the broader context for an informal and practical trilateral cooperation at the working level.

(Image: Gettyimages/metamorworks)

Cutting-Edge Health Technologies – Opportunities and Challenges (October 31, 2019)

This eighth joint technical symposium discussed innovation in, and access to, cutting-edge health technologies. The Symposium opened with speeches by the directors general of the three collaborating organizations, followed by panel discussions on perspectives for future health outcomes through biotechnology, information technology and big data, as well as on the opportunities and challenges of optimizing the benefits of these new technologies.

An integrated health, trade and IP approach to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic

The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic constitutes an extraordinary global public health crisis that has created a pressing need for intensified global cooperation. A special insert of the trilateral study maps the myriad challenges posed by the outbreak in relation to the integrated health, trade and IP policy frameworks. It provides cross-references to the relevant sections in the updated trilateral study PDF, title goes here.

Study: Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation

Second Edition - 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. To promote innovation and to ensure equitable access to all vital medical technologies, policy-makers need a clear understanding of the innovation processes that lead to new technologies and of the ways in which these technologies are disseminated in health systems. This study seeks to reinforce the understanding of the interplay between the distinct policy domains of health, trade and intellectual property, and of how they affect medical innovation and access to medical technologies.

The second edition comprehensively reviews the existing material and captures new developments in key areas since the initial launch of the study in 2013. Among the new topics covered by the study are antimicrobial resistance and cutting-edge health technologies. The second edition provides updated data on health, innovation trends in the pharmaceutical sector, and trade and tariffs. It includes an updated overview of access to medical technologies globally and key provisions in free trade agreements, and takes account of developments in IP legislation and jurisprudence.

A collaborative effort by WHO, WIPO and WTO, this study draws 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.

Based on many years of field experience in technical cooperation, the study has been prepared to serve the needs of policy-makers 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.

For the time being, the second edition of the study is available in English only.

The first edition of the study is available in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Meetings and documents