For the first time since the General Assembly meet on HIV/AIDs ten years ago, the UN is having a 'high-level' meet to discuss health issues - more specifically the rising public health problem of non-communicable diseases from 19th - 20th September. Non-Communicable Diseases or NCDs refer to the rising global problem of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes. According to the WHO, these account for over 63% of deaths (ie, about 36 million annually) about in the world today, killing about 9 million people under 60 annually. Earlier, these problems were predominantly in the developed world, however, with rising middle income-d society in the developing world and the increasing consumption of certain types of unhealthy food, NCDs are now also one of the leading causes of death in several developing countries as well. As is mentioned on the WHO site, "The aim is for countries to adopt a concise, action-oriented outcome document that will shape the global agendas for generations to come."
Given the long term impact of this meeting and the fact that it's a health issue, it goes without saying that IP issues have popped up in right in the center. IP-Watch reports that there has been a set of secret negotiations over the level of influence that IPRs will play in the policy debates - and whether a mention to the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health should be kept in the draft declaration for ministers at the summit. The Doha declaration emphasizes the right of countries to use TRIPS flexibilities for public health measures. While the context has shifted a bit, the arguments are mostly the same typical ones found in access to medicine debates. NGOs, civil society, etc argue that big pharma companies will cause NCD medicines to be priced too high for poor populations; while the big pharma companies say that there is no real reason to be worried as most of the NCD medicines are already off patent.
It's quite well known that Big Pharma, and their representatives US and EU, are not in favour of flexibility measures such as compulsory licensing, and have taken steps to show countries their displeasure with bringing up this option. So it's quite expected that they would try to bifurcate these flexibilities from the new declaration on NCDs. The bloc of developing countries, being the most affected by these diseases + drug prices, will naturally want to ensure as many options as possible are present for reducing costs of drugs for their populations.
Given that this meet will greatly influence the future course of policy for dealing with NCD treatment and prevention, the outcome of the meet is eagerly awaited.
More detailed analysis here on IP-Watch.