The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the research-based pharmaceutical industry yesterday launched a new partnership to promote the accessibility of patent information for health agencies tasked with procurement of medicines.
WIPO Director General Francis Gurry and Mr. Thomas Cueni, Director General of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), signed an agreement establishing the Patent Information Initiative for Medicines, or “Pat-INFORMED,” on the sidelines of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO.
WIPO and IFPMA, the global trade association representing the research-based pharmaceutical industry, are co-sponsors of the initiative, which originated in the industry’s efforts to add clarity to the patent information around medicines. It couples the industry’s work in this area with WIPO’s well-established expertise in organising patent data from across the globe.
Pat-INFORMED will clearly link public patent information to registered medicines in a new online global gateway, helping health professionals to navigate the medicine-procurement process for the benefit of their citizens.
“Pat-INFORMED will make it easier for procurement experts to assess the patent status of medicines, underlining how a well-designed and implemented patent system incentivises innovation while making available and accessible key information about patented inventions,” said Mr. Gurry. “I welcome the engagement of IFPMA and its membership in this initiative, which responds to real needs in the public health community.”
“We can proudly say that this collaboration with WIPO shows the private sector’s initiative to propose practical solutions to reduce the complexity around patent information. Helping ease access to patent information for public health authorities can help them establish smarter procurement strategies, one building block of improved global health,” said Mr. Thomas Cueni, Director General IFPMA.
Pat-INFORMED will act as a global gateway to medicine patent information. It will offer new tools and resources to determine the existence of patents relevant to products sought by procurement bodies’ disease-management strategies or other work addressing public health needs.
Twenty leading global research-based biopharmaceutical companies have already committed to make information available via a database to be established by Pat-INFORMED, with more organisations expected to join.
While patent information is publicly available around the world, resources that directly link granted patents to marketed medicines are currently only available publicly in certain countries (e.g. the USA’s ‘Orange Book’) or through private third-party databases.
Pat-INFORMED aims to help close these gaps, and make the management of patent issues in procurement less time- and resource-intensive. Pat-INFORMED also offers qualified procurement agencies a communication channel for follow-on inquiries, through which participating companies have agreed to provide more detailed information about granted patents on specific products.
The online initiative is expected to be operational by mid-2018 and will provide patent information for small molecule products within oncology; hepatitis C, cardiovascular, HIV, diabetes, and respiratory therapy areas; and any products on the WHO Essential Medicines List that are not within these therapy areas. In a second phase, the initiative will expand to all therapeutic areas and explore the inclusion of complex therapeutics.