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IP Protections Help Improve Cancer Screening and Prevention in Malaysia

Although cervical cancer is the third most common cancer in women in Malaysia, the country’s cervical screening rate is low. Only 12.9% of women in Malaysia get screened in their lifetime, which is well below the World Health Organization’s target of 70% HPV screening coverage for women aged 35 to 45.

Aiming to boost screening rates, University of Malaya consultant obstetrician and gynecologist Prof. Dr. Woo Yin Ling partnered with experts from the VCS foundation in Australia to develop a digital health program entitled ROSE (Removing Obstacles to Cervical Screening). By tracking women and reminding them to take an HPV screening test at age 35, ROSE aims to help increase screening rates and reduce the overload on government clinics. It also empowers women to take a leadership role in their cancer screening by using a novel method of self-testing and a digital health platform.

Intellectual property (IP) rights play a critical role in ensuring the success of ROSE. Patents protect the self-administration aspect of the program while copyright and database rights protect the platform’s programs, algorithms and data. Without these protections, Malaysian innovations like ROSE would not be possible; IP enables innovation that can bring lifesaving solutions to patients here in the region.

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EU Commission Cites Systemic IP Barriers in Southeast Asia

Strong intellectual property (IP) protection and enforcement is critical to helping countries attract foreign investment, promote economic growth, provide greater access to medicines and improve patient outcomes. The biennial “Report on the Protection and Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights in Third Countries” cites Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand as priority countries that will need to strengthen their IP regulations to stay globally competitive.