PIJIP Receives FOIS Grant to Promote Access to Medicines Legal Training in Africa and the Former Soviet Union

July 28, 2009 - WASHINGTON, DC - American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) has been awarded a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute, Zug (FOSI) to expand its Access to Medicines Legal Training Initiative. This grant will support the teaching of a new course on Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Access to Medicines to be held in Kiev, Ukraine, September 14-18, 2009, and the provision of technical support and assistance to the Human Rights and Access to Medicines Legal Clinic formed by PIJIP and the University of Pretoria’s Centre for Human Rights last year.

Sean Flynn, PIJIP’s associate director and the principal investigator for the project, stated:

“We are excited to extend our access to medicines training to Eastern Europe. As the region integrates into the World Trade Organization, including the agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), it is important for leaders to understand the impact on medicine prices that compliance with TRIPS obligations may have if the countries do not understand and take advantage of the TRIPS agreement’s flexibilities.

We are also pleased to continue our support for the Human Rights and Access to Medicines Clinic, which this year will help health advocates in Uganda analyze the potential impact of anticounterfeiting legislation on access to medicines in that country.”  

PIJIP’s Access to Medicines Legal Training Initiative conducts courses and provides technical assistance to advocates and governments in developing countries on how to promote access to affordable medicines through intellectual property “flexibilities” permitted by the TRIPS agreement. Previous work by the Initiative has included providing short courses on IP, Human Rights and Access to Medicines to LLM students and practitioners at the Universities of Pretoria and Kwazulu Natal in South Africa and to parliamentarians from 14 Southern African Countries with the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum.

Support for the Initiative has been provided by FOSI, the Open Society Institute, the United Nations Development Fund, the University of Pretoria and the Washington College of Law.

For more information on PIJIP’s Access to Medicines Legal Training Initiative, see http://wcl.american.edu/pijip/go/humanrights

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The Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP) at Washington College of Law promotes public interest approaches to domestic and international intellectual property law through advocacy, events, and the provision of legal and consulting services.  PIJIP’s activities focus on a balanced approach to intellectual property and other legal regimes that reward creators while ensuring broad public access to information and its products.

Foundation Open Society Institute (Zug) is the autonomous Swiss branch of the Open Society Institute.  It works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. To achieve its mission, it seeks to shape public policies that assure greater fairness in political, legal, and economic systems and safeguard fundamental rights.