Ellen 't Hoen

Why The Request By Least Developed Countries For An Extension Of The Transitional Period For Granting And Enforcing Medicines Patents Needs To Be Supported

Ellen ‘t Hoen writes: On 24 February 2015 Bangladesh on behalf of the 34 Least Developed Country members (LDCs) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) submitted a request for an extension of the transitional period under article 66.1 TRIPS with respect to pharmaceutical products until the country is no longer classified as LDC.[1] The original extension, set to expire on 1st January 2016, specifically removes the obligation for LDCs to comply with Section 5 (Patents) and Section 7 (Protection of Undisclosed Information) of Part II of TRIPS, including any obligation to enforce rights under these provisions.

It is a little known fact that since the adoption of the 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health, LDCs have frequently used the extension in day-to-day procurement of low cost generic medicines, in particular to access medicines needed for the treatment of HIV.

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