[Ip-health] LDCs lobby for TRIPS extension

Sangeeta Shashikant ssangeeta at myjaring.net
Tue Feb 26 03:50:58 PST 2013

LDCs lobby for TRIPS extension
Uganda and other Less Developed Countries (LDCs) are lobbying for an
extension of the transition period beyond 2016 to become TRIPS compliant.
The civil society organizations and private sector in the East African
Community are pushing for this extension to buy more time for the countries
with the exception of Kenya to overcome capacity constraints and to develop
a viable and competitive technological base.

The CSOs say there are several implications of this trade agreement on
access medicines and food in particular.   If the countries sign the
agreement this July to enforce Intellectual Property (IP) protection in
their national laws, accessibility may be affected.

This implies that in  a country  where  IP protection is  enforced, a
producer or distributor of goods  who has  trade rights  to supply that
country¹s market can be exclusively  allowed to supply the market, while
prohibiting  other  producers  or suppliers  to engage  in that market.
However, the recipient country  may also  have in place  provisions; within
its  legislations(flexibilities), for parallel  importation , or domestic
manufacture  which would  enable them  access  or produce  a similar good
such as a given  drug at a  more  affordable cost than that of  the
protected producer or distributor.

Elizabeth Tamale Assistant Commissioner, Ministry of Trade, Industry and
4,d.d2k>  said that The TRIPS Agreement Œcan and should be interpreted and
implemented in a manner supportive of WTO members' right to protect public
health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all,¹ Doha
Declaration,  2001.

She added that EAC Partner states could also lobby other WTO Members
including LDCs, Africa Group during the TRIPS Council meetings to start
discussing the extension of the transitional period beyond 2016.

EAC and other African LDC Members should take particular attention to AU
initiative to create a Pan African Intellectual Property Organisation
proposal to negotiate IP issues for AU, set IP standards, combat piracy and
counterfeits etc

IP has been and is one of the major inhibitors of access to medicines
because before 2000, People living with HIV/AIDS (PHAs) only accessed ARVs
privately by out of pocket payments. Globally, only 40,000 PHAs had access
to ART in 2000; in 10 years the number increased to more than 5m due to
generic competition. The first government free ARV programmes in E.A started
in early 2000 with US support.

Kibira Denis from HEPS-Uganda says the Medicine needs have not been met and
therefore IP will not solve this problem. He added that the IP approach will
not solve the public health problems; mechanisms are not yet in place to
implement IPR  and that the transition period should be extended until such
a time when LDCs are able to meet their public health needs.

³Only 1/3 of the 15 million PHAs that need ART across the world have access.
HIV infection rates are increasing at an exponential rate. In Uganda for 1
person started on ART there were 10 new infections in 2009/10.There is
increased demand for newer, safer ARVs. Resistance to 1st line regimens
requires switch to more expensive 2nd, 3rd lines that are also patent
protected we can no longer rely India and Asia.²

Extending the transitional period is likely to make EAC attractive to
generic drug manufactures from countries like India and will enable EAC to
continue developing regional production and supply of generic pharmaceutical
products without hindrances from Patent owners.

Kenya Property Developers Association (KPDA) Chairman,Dr .Kamamia wa Murichu
says  Knowledge is the source of economic self determination and human
dignity; production of knowledge is fast becoming a vital component of the
global economy and  that  IPRS have become valuable commodities in commerce
as they can be used in business transactions.

He added that Legal and administrative mechanisms exist for IP Protection in
Kenya and that laws were  recently amended to conform to TRIPs Agreement
since Kenya is considered a developing country.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established by the Marrakesh
Agreement (³the WTO Agreement²) of 15th April 1994 that entered into force
on 1st January 1995.

Main scope of the WTO is to provide the common institutional framework for
the conduct of trade relations among its Members.

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