Food Security and Access and Benefit-Sharing for Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
About the book: A study prepared for the UN FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) on whether, and how, national and regional laws, guidelines and other arrangements on access to genetic resources and benefit-sharing (ABS) may impact upon agriculture and food security.
Authors: Gurdial Singh Nijar, Gan Pei Fern, Lee Yin Harn and Chan Hui Yun
Integrating Public Health Concerns into Patent Legislation in Developing Countries
The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) requires all WTO Member countries to adapt their laws to the minimum standards set out in the Agreement, within established transitional periods. Conforming with the Agreement by recognizing or strengthening the protection of pharmaceutical products and processes by intellectual property rights (IPRs) has posed a special challenge for developing countries. The way in which the required legislative reform is made may have a significant impact on public health policies, and particularly on the population’s access to drugs.
This document presents options for the design and implementation of public-health-sensitive patent policies in developing countries. It examines approaches to selected issues in patent law that may help to strike a balance between the public and private interests involved in the protection of health-related inventions, including those of States, patients, and of the suppliers of health-related goods and services. This document has been prepared as part of an initiative aimed at exploring health-related aspects of intellectual property rights that may further the needs of the poor and excluded in developing countries. It is primarily addressed to policy makers and others concerned in the field of public health in developing countries.
The issues raised in this report reflect major ongoing concerns about food security in developing countries. Several of these issues were addressed in the “Rome Declaration on World Food Security and World Food Summit Plan of Action”. However, they were dealt with in a somewhat superficial manner. Moreover, Northern interests and the liberalization agenda embedded in the “Washington consensus” heavily influenced this Summit document. More serious for the interests of the South may be that no politically realistic strategy emerged for mobilizing popularly based movements and governments to eliminate hunger.
The purpose of this publication is to emphasize in an integrated manner a set of food security issues and policies of particular concern to peoples and governments of developing countries. The South Centre hopes it will contribute to more effective actions towards universal food security. An earlier version of this paper was prepared as a contribution to discussions at the World Food Summit held at FAO Headquarters, 13-17 November 1996.