Posted on March 24, 2011 by Patients and Patents
Today is World TB Day – an opportunity to raise awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. It is estimated that 1/3 of the world’s population are infected with the bacteria that causes TB; according to the World Health Organization, more than 14 million people have active TB (as of 2009) leading to 4,600 deaths each day.
Globally, there were an estimated 9.4 million new cases of TB in 2008.
For more information, visit:
Filed under: Public health, World Health Organization | Tagged: global health, Public health, tuberculosis, World Health Organization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 22, 2011 by Patients and Patents
The computer that defeated humanity’s finest Jeopardy players in February isn’t stopping at game show domination. Its creators have been busy retrofitting ‘Watson’ to help doctors diagnose and treat patients. (Source: Mashable)
IBM has partnerships with eight major universities to get medical data for Watson’s information base and to help find the best ways for physicians to use Watson.
Herbert Chase, a professor at Columbia University, has been working with IBM to turn Watson into a doctor’s assistant that can process all of the latest evidence-based medical information. The intention is not to one day replace doctors with Watson but to help them analyze data in a way that extends beyond human capabilities.
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Posted on March 21, 2011 by Patients and Patents
Today marks the start of the 18th Meeting of the WHO Expert Committee on the Selection and Use of Essential Medicines. At the weeklong meeting, held in Accra Ghana, the Committee will review 16 applications for the addition of a new medicine to the model list; 7 applications for the addition of a new formulation; and 9 applications for the deletion of a medicine from the list.
Access to appropriate medicines is vital to improving global public health and achieving targets set in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). More than eight million children under the age of five still die every year from causes such as pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. The majority of these deaths occur in developing countries and can be prevented when the right medicines are available and are prescribed and used correctly.
Read more. (Source: World Health Advocacy)
Filed under: Public health, World Health Organization | Tagged: access to medicines, global health, World Health Organization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 12, 2011 by Patients and Patents
As reported by Scientific American, the autoimmune disease lupus has confounded drug developers for more than 50 years. But a new therapy finally broke through that barrier yesterday when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of Benlysta (belimumab) for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus.
This breakthrough has been a long time coming — though not for lack of effort. At least seven possible medicines have been turned back at the clinical trial stage in the last several years (Source: PhRMA).
For those with Lupus, this approval is not the only good news. Other similar drugs are in the pipeline and could be available in the near future.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Innovation | Tagged: Innovation, lupus, Public health, research and development, research-based pharmaceutical industry | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 11, 2011 by Patients and Patents
Canadian MP Keith Martin recently wrote an interesting Op-Ed for the Edmonton Journal on the challenges of providing access to medicines and health for the world’s poorest. He notes that lack of infrastructure, access to trained health workers, potable water and sanitation are the real barriers to access to medicines and care — not patents.
98.6 per cent of ‘essential medicines’ are generic or are not patented in developing countries, but for those living on $2 a day even generic drugs are too expensive (when available).
Tinkering with patent laws won’t get medicine to world’s poorest
The debate around enabling the world’s poorest people to acquire life-saving medications is coming to a head. This week, Parliament votes on a bill that will modify Canada’s Access to Medications Regime (CAMR). If the bill becomes law, it will enable Canadian generic manufacturers to produce and sell medications that are currently under patent protection to developing countries. On the surface this makes sense. But are patents really the obstacle proponents of the bill claim to enabling the poor to access drugs for AIDS and other diseases?
Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) convenes an independent panel of experts, chosen equally from developing and developed countries, to draw up a list of essential medicines. Currently, 319 drugs are on this list.
Of these, 98.6 per cent are generic or are not patented in developing countries. Thus, the life-saving medications the poor needs are already off patent. Generic manufacturers can make them today if they wish. Therefore, patents are not the problem. (more…)
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Public health | Tagged: access to medicines, CAMR, Canada, global health, least-developed countries, patents, Public health, World Health Organization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 8, 2011 by Patients and Patents
USAID, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Norway, Grand Challenges Canada, and the World Bank will announce tomorrow a new partnership that will seek innovative solutions to reduce maternal and newborn mortality in developing countries.
The launch event will be webcast live tomorrow (March 9) at 9:00am EST.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Public health | Tagged: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, global health, maternal health, Millenium Development Goals, USAID, world bank | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 7, 2011 by Patients and Patents
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has announced plans to strengthen Nigeria’s technology innovation centres with particular reference to the Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Offices (IPTTOs) established by the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) in tertiary institutions and research centres across the country.
WIPO will help strengthen existing national capacities through the creation of Technology Innovation Support Centres (TISC) – digital libraries comprising 70,000 specialized patents on-line.
These centres will be established in the universities not only to promote innovations but also to ensure that learning was linked to practical life.
According to Dr. Ituku Elangi Botoy, Project coordinator of the Innovation and Technology Support Section of WIPO, no country has developed without prioritizing science and technology and that Nigeria would not be an exception.
Filed under: Africa, Commentary on news & events, Innovation | Tagged: Africa, Innovation, patents, research and development, World Intellectual Property Association | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 4, 2011 by Patients and Patents
“The first priority for public health, and this is the priority for WHO, is to protect populations from the harm caused by poor-quality, unsafe medicines,” stated Dr. Chan, WHO’s Director General in a recent release. ”The objective is to keep these harmful products off the market everywhere, but especially in the developing world.”
An intergovernmental working group focused on this issue has delivered its preliminary report on the World Health Organization’s future role in the fight against substandard and counterfeit medicines.
According to the initial report, the working group recommended that the WHO concentrate its efforts on substandard and SSFFC medical products in three areas: information and awareness creation; norms and standards; and providing technical support to countries.
Filed under: Commentary on news & events, Counterfeit drugs, World Health Organization | Tagged: counterfeit medicines, global health, Public health, substandard medicines, United Nations, World Health Organization | Leave a Comment »
Posted on March 3, 2011 by Patients and Patents
With a polio outbreak spreading rapidly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), UN Daily News reports that the Executive Director of UNICEF will visit the country to help support a mass campaign to vaccinate over 14 million children.
The DRC has witnessed a sharp resurgence of polio as conditions in the country continue to complicate vaccination efforts, potentially undermining global eradication of the crippling disease. From January 2010 to February 2011, there were 112 new cases. In 2009, only three cases were detected.
“UNICEF will do everything we can to support the DRC’s collective effort to defeat this evil virus once and for all,” said UNICEF’s Executive Director, Anthony Lake. “Eradicating polio in DRC and everywhere requires an absolute commitment by government and its partners to vaccinate every child.”
In response to the outbreak, preparations are underway to go door to door to vaccinate more than 14 million children by the end of May. The aim is to make sure that no child is left unprotected.
Filed under: Africa, Commentary on news & events, Public health, World Health Organization | Tagged: Africa, immunization, polio, UNICEF, United Nations, vaccine | Leave a Comment »