World Health Organisation has been asked to create a voluntary intellectual property pool in order to develop Covid-19 products

The Costa Rican Government has proposed to the World Health Organisation (WHO) that in order to widen the access of medical products, it is appropriate to create a voluntary IP pool. This aims to collect patent rights, test data and any other informative pieces which could be shared, in order to develop drugs and vaccines. The Costa Rican Officials are hoping that the voluntary mechanism will attract other governments and non – profit organisations and insist that the pool should allow free access on ‘reasonable and affordable terms, in every member country’. It would include a database of research related to Covid-19, such as the cost of clinical trials.

Further explanations suggest that the so-called voluntary pool aims to evaluate technologies on a larger scale, rather than drug-by-drug or assessment per country, in order to provide equitable access for members. Although it might appear otherwise, a member who worked with the officials on the idea insisted that this is not in any way an attack on intellectual property, but instead a response which matches the magnitude of the ongoing pandemic. The voluntary pool would allow for the combining of treatments of those that contribute or buy into this scheme, without the worry of acquiring intellectual property rights.

With such uncertainty in a pandemic often arises uncertainty in the response to it. Only time will tell whether the idea will catch on and whether it will be backed by the WHO.

If you have any questions regarding intellectual property, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Lawdit team today.


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