190. The representative of the Secretariat provided an update on technical assistance activities that had been undertaken with a bearing on the Paragraph 6 System and other flexibilities as they related to public health. The implementation, legal and policy context, and the acceptance process of the Paragraph 6 System had been a major theme of technical assistance activities conducted by the Secretariat in increasingly close collaboration with sister organizations, in particular the WHO and WIPO.
191. A specific example of this cooperation was the most recent workshop on intellectual property and public health held by the Secretariat in collaboration with WHO and WIPO. The seventh in its series, the workshop had been a specialist programme for 23 developing country officials that had been convened earlier in the month. Its focus had been building the participants' capacity to help their countries make use of flexibilities for pharmaceuticals under the TRIPS Agreement. To this end, the workshop had utilized presentations, discussions and practical exercises to study the TRIPS Agreement and the management of intellectual property rights as applied to concrete health-related projects. Participants had been familiarized with the key concepts under the TRIPS Agreement and other intellectual property instruments, and how those provisions, including the Paragraph 6 System, could be implemented in national law.
192. Among other issues covered had been pricing and procurement policies as a key element in securing access to medicines, as well as ensuring the safety, efficacy and quality of medicines, technology transfer and local production, the role of competition policy, and intellectual property rights provisions in regional or bilateral free trade agreements and their link to public health.
193. A diverse range of speakers had shared their practical experiences and views on key issues directly relevant to public health, including a wide range of expertise on legal, policy and economic issues from WTO, WHO and WIPO, as well as UNCTAD, representatives from some WTO Members, including Geneva delegations, the Commissioner of the South African Competition Commission, the President of the Ecuadorian Institute of Intellectual Property, the research based and generic industries, Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors without Borders), the Global Fund, the Medicines for Malaria Venture, and Health Action International. These experts had provided a well rounded view of the issues at the crossroad between intellectual property rights and public health.
194. He said that TRIPS flexibilities in the area of public health had also figured prominently in other WTO national and regional technical cooperation events. In addition, in order to advance cooperation between the WTO, WHO and WIPO and to focus on technical cooperation and enhance available information materials, a series of policy symposia were being undertaken. A third in the series was expected early next year. The working materials developed in this programme of trilateral cooperation, along the lines of the themes and content of the first trilateral symposium held in 2010, were being developed and collated in the form of a trilateral study prepared as a resource for continuing technical cooperation and capacity building. In addition, as a further tool for technical assistance, a set of models for notifications under the Paragraph 6 System had been made available on the WTO website.3