Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Big pharma creates new forum to court the Geneva diplomatic community

5 April 2006
Thiru Balasubramaniam

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), the international lobbying arm of big pharma headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland has created the "Geneva Pharma Forum (GPF)" as a
forum for discussion and interaction for the Geneva diplomatic community involved in the public health issues. It is organized as a discussion panel, during which experts from the pharmaceutical industry, academia and other settings present on specific health-related topics, followed by an open debate involving the attendees (GPF).

The second event of their 2006 Series, entitled "Intellectual Property as a Powertool for Development" will feature Dr. John Kilama, President of the Global Bioscience Development Institute (GBDI). IFPMA will provide a free sandwich lunch to participants to this event which will take place on Thursday, April 20, 2006 from 12:00 noon to 14:30 at the Centre de Conférences de Varembé (CCV) Room A, 9-11 rue de Varembé, Genève.

The organizers of this event include Susan Crowley (Chair, IFPMA Partnerships and Public Health Advocacy Committee) and Eric Noehrenberg (IFPMA Director, International Trade and Public Health Advocacy Committee Market Issues).

In addition to courting the diplomatic community, the IPFMA's Geneva Pharma Forum has sent out invitations to officials at WIPO, WHO, WTO and a number of public private partnerships.

The title of the event, "Intellectual Property as a Powertool for Development" bears close resemblance to a publication by WIPO Director-General Kamil Idris' book "Intellectual Property: A Power Tool for Economic Growth" published in 2003. John Kilama is a former employee of DuPont Company. In an opinion piece entitled Protecting patents protects patients in 29 July 2005, Dr. Kilama opined that the Development Agenda as "predicated on the dubious proposition that IP is to blame for many of the ills in the world. Implementing such an agenda would likely to counterproductive." In this editorial Dr. Kilama criticized the examination complementary systems of innovation including "open-access publishing, open-source software development and increased government funding for R&D". In light of the WHO Executive Board resolution (EB 117.R13) on a Global framework on essential health research and development submitted to the World Health Assembly for consideration, it would be interesting to note if big pharma uses this Geneva lunchtime seminar as a platform to attack the resolution on a Global framework on essential health research and development.

John Kilama