Thursday, December 08, 2005

Hong Kong and Macao China promise to use IPR amendment to access cheaper drugs only in case of emergency

"The approval, by WTO headquarters in Geneva Tuesday for effecting changes to the intellectual property agreement, makes permanent a decision on patents and public health originally adopted in 2003. The latest decision comes a week after WTO members agreed to extend the transition period for least developed countries, allowing them time until July 1, 2013, to provide protection for trademarks, copyright, patents and other IPR issues under the agreement. Least developed countries had already been given time until 2016 to protect pharmaceutical patents.

The deadline for least-developed countries to protect pharmaceutical patents was revised in June 2002. This was followed by the waiver in August 2003, which itself called for the eventual amendment.

The decision directly transforms the Aug 30, 2003, 'waiver' into a permanent amendment of the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)," the statement said.

Article 31(f) of the TRIPS Agreement says that production under compulsory licensing must be predominantly for the domestic market.

Hong Kong, Israel, Korea, Kuwait, Macao China, Mexico, Qatar, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Turkey and United Arab Emirates have separately announced that if they use the amendment of the IPR system as importers it would only be for emergencies or extremely urgent situations."

Read more here.

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