UNAIDS, UNDP, and the World Health Organization have released a policy brief describing the flexibilities in TRIPS available to increase access to medicines, including compulsory licenses, parallel imports and patentability criteria.  It recommends that low and middle income countries “revise national intellectual property legislation in order to ensure that TRIPS flexibilities specifically geared to promote access to medicines are incorporated into national laws and regulations without delay.”  It recommends that high income countries implement the WTO mechanism to “facilitate the export of generic medicines to countries without sufficient or any manufacturing capacity.”

Though TRIPS flexibilities have been used by some countries to expand access to medicines – the policy brief points to South Africa, Rwanda, Brazil, Thailand and India as examples – they are underutilized worldwide.  The authors cite a recent WIPO survey to show a “diverse picture with regard to the incorporation of TRIPS flexibilities into national patent laws.”

The Full Policy Brief is here:

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