Conference on funding R&D in the public interest, June 13-14 2005

May 6, 2005

London, 05 May 2005

TACD and the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, centered at Columbia University, will be holding a seminar at Columbia University, New York City. The discussions will focus on how the public interest can be better served by medical Research and Development.

There is increasing concern about the formulation of intellectual property regimes that best serve the public, including those implemented in developing countries. The issue was placed firmly on the agenda at the General Assembly Meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in Geneva the past fall under the initiative of Argentina, Brazil and many other developing countries. The call was renewed at the Seoul ministerial meeting of the least developed countries the following month, and has now been reinforced by a recent paper from a group of 14 developing countries (the Friends of Development), calling for a global framework that promotes development and "access to knowledge for all."

Concerns about access to knowledge and life saving drugs and enhanced disparities between the developed and developing countries lie behind these calls. Yet defenders of existing movements towards stronger intellectual property rights contend that all will benefit. The issue is of vital concern to the entire world, and it is important to marshal what history, theory, evidence, and solid policy analysis as opposed to special interest posturing has to say.

The meeting will focus the first day's discussion on the broader theme of what should be meant by a development oriented Intellectual Property agenda, and the second day's discussion on how to provide a framework to provide sustainable sources of finance for medical R&D that reconciles the need for both innovation and access.

Throughout, we hope the discussion will put intellectual property within the broader focus of promoting the well being of those in the developing world, through promoting growth and access to knowledge. Intellectual property rights are one, but only one, way through which these objectives may be pursued.

To find out more about a proposed framework for funding medical R&D please see this letter signed by 162 scientists, public health experts, law professors, economists, government officals, members of parliaments, NGOs and others:

For more information about the meeting please contact Ben Wallis (

A draft agenda will be posted here before the event.

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