Will the Amendment to the TRIPS Agreement Enhance Access to Medicines?
An amendment to the TRIPS Agreement by incorporation of the text of the decision of the WTO General Council on 30 August 2003 (as article 31bis) has been made in response to the problem identified in paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. This paragraph sought a solution to situations where patented pharmaceuticals which are not available in a country with no or insufficient manufacturing capacity can be supplied by a foreign provider. As originally adopted, the TRIPS Agreement did not allow the grant of compulsory licenses for exports only, thereby preventing generic manufacturers from exporting the required products to countries unable to produce them. While the new article 31bis is a step forward as it reflects public health concerns, it would be necessary to streamline the procedures to effectively ensure broader access to pharmaceutical products at low cost and in a timely manner.
Compulsory Licensing Jurisprudence in South Africa: Do We Have Our Priorities Right?
Compulsory licences are generally available on a variety of grounds, most notably on patents where the patentee is found to have abused its rights in one manner or another. This research paper attempts to review South African case law on applications for compulsory licences since the inception of the current legislation, analyse the interpretations placed on the relevant sections, and draw conclusions about judicial reasoning, impediments to the grant of such licences, and generally the courts’ approach to disputes relating to patents.
The International Debate on Generic Medicines of Biological Origin
The debate on generic medicines is not new. What makes it different today is that attacks levelled against biological generic products are couched in even more “technical” and abstruse language. The high price of biological drugs stems mainly from the introduction of barriers to the entry of generics into the market. In any debate on the feasibility of producing biological generic products identical to the ‘original’ ones, it should be made clear that what are at stake are not identical products but therapeutic equivalents.
South Centre Statement at the 27th Session of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standing Committee on the Law of Patents
As this year’s work in the WIPO substantive committees will end with the conclusion of the 27th session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP), we are reminded that next year will mark the tenth anniversary since the SCP had reconvened in 2008 with a focus on developing a balanced work programme on issues relating to the law of patents to also address development and public policy questions that arise in the context of the patent system. The work of the SCP, in this sense, is integral to advancing the WIPO Development Agenda.
Intellectual Property in the Trans-Pacific Partnership: Increasing the Barriers for the Access to Affordable Medicines (revised)
Most free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by the United States, the European Union and the members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) in the last 15 years contain chapters on intellectual property rights with provisions applicable to pharmaceuticals. Such provisions considerably expand the rights recognized to pharmaceutical companies under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) established in the context of the World Trade Organization (WTO). (more…)
Intellectual Property, Public Health and Access to Medicines in International Organizations
This South Centre research paper by Dr. German Velasquez describes and analyses the mandate, programmes, strategies, and activities that different international organizations such as WHO, WTO, WIPO, UNCTAD, UNDP, UNAIDS, the UN Human Rights Council, and the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel (UNHLP) on access to medicines have undertaken on the subject of access to medicines, intellectual property, international trade rules and human rights.
South Centre Statement to the 26th Session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP)
The 26th session of the WIPO Standing Committee on the Law of Patents (SCP) is meeting this week at the WIPO headquarters in Geneva. The South Centre is participating in the current session of the SCP as an observer. The following statement was delivered by the South Centre on the first day of the current session of the SCP.