[Ip-health] Database documenting the use of TRIPS Flexibilities for public health now available online

Ellen 't Hoen ellenthoen at medicineslawandpolicy.net
Tue Nov 27 21:45:29 PST 2018

Flexibilities were essential in providing access to HIV medicines; today, the need for access to other essential treatments is driving their uptake 

27 NOVEMBER 2018: Medicines Law & Policy today launches a new tool demonstrating how key flexibilities in international intellectual property law have been used to increase access to treatments for HIV, cancer, hepatitis C and other infectious and non-communicable diseases. The tool, a database, provides an overview of the use of flexibilities by governments to access lower priced medicines.  
The World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Agreement, which sets out the global rules for the protection of intellectual property, contains important flexibilities that governments can use to protect public health.  “This database provides for the first time a global overview of the use of these safeguards in the field of public health,” said Ellen ‘t Hoen, who led the process of data-gathering on this new tool.  
The more than 150 instances of the use of TRIPS Flexibilities in the database countervail the common perception that these measures have only been sparsely used. “Countries have used the TRIPS flexibilities in particular to enable the supply of affordable generic antiretrovirals. But the database shows that in recent years the cost of treatment for hepatitis C and non-communicable diseases such as cancer have driven the uptake of TRIPS flexibilities. We intend to continuously update the database and by making this data publicly available we hope that others feel encouraged to contribute to it,” ‘t Hoen added. 
Dr. Peter  Beyer, Senior Advisor at the World Health Organization, welcomed the database as “a useful tool to demystify the concept of TRIPS flexibilities and to show how these measures have been used in different countries.”  
“This database demonstrates that TRIPS Flexibilities have been used, effectively, far more widely than is often believed. This is crucial information for NGO's striving to achieve a world where safe, effective, and affordable medicines are available to all," said Tim Reed, Executive Director of Health Action International. 

Medicines Law & Policy experts have been gathering information about the use of TRIPS flexibilities since 2009. Summary overview of the data has been published before, including in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (http://www.who.int/bulletin/volumes/96/3/17-199364.pdf). The TRIPS flexibilities database was developed in response to requests from others working in access to medicines to have access to the information. More information on the development and history of the database is available on our website here: https://medicineslawandpolicy.org/2018/11/new-database-documents-the-power-of-trips-flexibilities.

"This timely database shows that several TRIPS flexibilities are being used and will encourage governments, civil society and generic suppliers to use them regularly," said Yoke Ling Chee, Director at the Third World Network. 

The database is available here: http://tripsflexibilities.medicineslawandpolicy.org/

More information on TRIPS flexibilities, including tools to aid governments in implementing them, is available here: https://medicineslawandpolicy.org/tools/  

Medicines Law & Policy brings together legal and policy experts in the field of access to medicines, international law, and public health. ML&P provides policy and legal analysis, best practice models and other information that can be used by governments, non-governmental organisations, product development initiatives, funding agencies, UN agencies and others working to ensure the availability of effective, safe and affordable medicines for all. 
For further questions: 
Write Kaitlin Mara at: kaitlinmara at medicineslawandpolicy.net 
Or Ellen ‘t Hoen at: ellenthoen at medicineslawandpolicy.net  


Ellen 't Hoen LLM PhD

Medicines Law & Policy


e-mail: ellenthoen at medicineslawandpolicy.net <mailto:ellenthoen at medicineslawandpolicy.net>

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