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

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.

Ebola Crisis Has Severe Impact On AIDS Response In Sierra Leone, UNDP Report Says

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According to an internal report of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Fund Partnership team, the Ebola epidemic has virtually halted national HIV efforts in Sierra Leone. In particular, patients stopped their treatments and the supply chain was disrupted.

New Quiet Initiative To Improve Drug Access In Middle-Income Countries, Change Country Classification System

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This week a confidential high-level expert meeting was convened in Geneva to start work on a potential change in the country classification used by global health actors to remedy the growing problem of access to medicines in middle-income countries.

In 21st Century No One Should Die For Lack Of Access To Medicines, Participants At UN Forum Say

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Last week’s 2015 Social Forum led by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called for urgent action to facilitate access to medicines. In particular, the functioning of the intellectual property system was put into question. A number of recommendations were drawn by the secretariat after having been identified by participants.

TRIPS In Question During Social Forum Discussion On Access To Medicines

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Intellectual property rights are hindering access to medicines by maintaining monopolies and high prices, according to speakers at an annual United Nations forum on human rights last week. Flexibilities enshrined in the World Trade Organization intellectual property agreement are hampered by political and economical pressure, they said, and a new system should be devised for pharmaceutical products.

Geneva Climate Change Talks Conclude With Formal Negotiating Text

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Following seven days of negotiations, 194 nations convened in Geneva agreed the negotiating text that is the basis for the accord they hope to reach in Paris at the end of 2015, to come into effect in 2020.

Biosimilars Present Opportunity, Challenge For Developing Countries, UNCTAD Group Says

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Biosimilars are a hot topic. Beyond the colossal profits foreseen by some, drawing a lot of interested parties into the game, developing countries mean to play a role in this new frontier. However, biosimilars – close copies of biopharmaceutical products – are difficult and very costly to produce and come as a challenge to the generic industry used to duplicating small molecules. And some warn about differences in regulatory requirements, which could effectively boot developing countries out of the global market.

Most-Read IP-Watch Stories In 2014: A Tale Of Staff Issues, India, Hot-Button Topics

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All year long, Intellectual Property Watch expends great energy and resources to bring hundreds of carefully written, detailed stories on policymaking – technical committee meetings, legislation, negotiations, legal cases, and latest reports and papers. But in what is perhaps typical of readers everywhere, many of the best-read IP-Watch stories of 2014 were those few that involved elections and personnel issues and India, followed by a range of hot button issues such as high-priced medicines, copyright and knowledge access, patent valuation, or internet surveillance.

UN Office Of Drugs And Crime Enters Debate Over Fake Medicines And IP

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The Vienna-based United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has been working for several years to fight “fraudulent” medicines in the global supply chain. But an alleged new draft model legislation it is developing includes intellectual property rights, an issue which has led to intensive debates in other international fora. This week, a closed-door UNODC informal expert group drafting the model legislation is meeting in Vienna.

Draft UN Post-2015 Development Goals: Future Must Not Be ‘Business As Usual’, Including IP Rights

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Last week’s United Nations draft report for the post-2015 sustainable development goals under negotiation calls for continued progress toward sweeping improvements in the lives of all people and the health of the planet, including ensuring that intellectual property rights are respected but do not get in the way.