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Wicked Issues for Canada at the Intersection of Intellectual Property and Public Health: Mechanisms for Policy Coherence Open Access


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Bubela, Tania
Gold, Richard E.
Morin, Jean-Frédéric
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Research Material
This article focuses on the intersection of health and one of the main drivers of the global economy, intellectual property (―IP‖). It is widely recognized that IP is an inter-sectoral issue with linkages to many other important public policy areas, such as health, agriculture, the environment, and education. In inter-sectoral issues such as IP, there is discussion on the need for governments around the world to achieve policy coherence not only across their various departments, but also between their domestic and international positions in important fora. To appreciate better the complexity of achieving policy coherence, this article first gives a multi-disciplinary view of policy coherence and then provides the Canadian context for the debate. Next, it describes three examples at the border of public health and intellectual property in Canada and internationally: (1) health innovation and access to medicines in developing countries; (2) traditional knowledge (medicinal); and (3) pandemic influenza preparedness. Finally, the article discuses international experiences with a variety of mechanisms for achieving policy coherence in IP and health, including the practice of advisory groups, multi-stakeholder dialogue, inter-departmental coordination mechanisms, broad delegations for international meetings, and white papers. From this review, a few observa-tions can be made. First, effective coordination requires two main factors: leadership and a permanent institution that can build trust. While inter-ministerial coordination is a widely used process for policy coherence, it is not always successful. Indeed, the lack of leadership in inter-ministerial coordination has strongly constrained policy coherence.
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© 2011 McGill University. This version of this article is open access and can be downloaded and shared. The original authors and source must be cited.
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Bubela T, Gold, ER, Morin, JF (2011) Wicked Issues for Canada at the Intersection of Intellectual Property and Public Health: Mechanisms for Policy Coherence. McGill Journal of Law and Health 4: 3-42.
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