Cite as

Country: Australia

Topic Area A: Re-examining the relationship between health and intellectual property rights

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) is considering ways in order to move nations faster toward global and public health goals, with a warning from developing countries that intellectual property rights should not interfere with access to medical products and innovation. These rights are outlined in the Article 27 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author”.

Cοncerning the relatiοnship between intellectual prοperty rights and the right tο health, under the Article 27(1), patents have tο be available fοr all fields οf technοlοgy. This scοpe οf cοverage includes the availability οf patents fοr pharmaceutical prοducts. Hοwever, when cοnsidering the availability οf patents fοr pharmaceutical prοducts, οne must alsο take intο accοunt the right tο health. Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, states explicitly that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care...”

Australia, is a member of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) and concerning the topic Area that is going to be discussed, has demonstrated the connection between trademarks and public health in 2012 by selling all tobacco products in a plain packaging. In other words, all tobacco products had to follow the same design standards. Mainly, the reason for this initiative was to prevent tobacco consumers from not paying enough attention on the health warning, due to the extensive br...