Developing Countries urged to take advantage of TRIPS public health flexibilities

Developing Countries urged to take advantage of TRIPS public health flexibilities

On 1-3 November 2017 KELIN participated in a high level meeting on promoting policy coherence on health technologies and access in the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO) region. The three day meeting discussed strategies to strengthen policy coherence and to promote innovation of and access to health technologies, among ARIPO Member States. The high disease burden in the region makes access to medicines, vaccines and diagnostics, a priority. Given ARIPO’s status as a regional patent office, successful use of the TRIPS flexibilities hinges considerably on the practices of ARIPO. The meeting recommended a review of the Harare Protocol and a restructure of ARIPO’s patent filing and granting practices to achieve public health and development considerations.

Developing Countries in the meeting were urged to take full advantage of TRIPS public health flexibilities, and ensure incorporation of the flexibilities in national legislation. On the other hand, Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were reminded of the fact that they are exempted from having to grant or enforce pharmaceutical product patents until 1 January 2033 (a transition period which can be renewed).

The meeting, convened by the Government of Malawi with support of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), brought together Ministers and Government Representatives from the Ministries of Health, Trade, Industry, Commerce, Justice and Foreign Affairs, Representatives of Civil Society, Private Sector and Experts from 15 ARIPO Member States and 3 Observer States, as well as representatives of ARIPO, African Union Commission, East African Commission, COMESA, UNPD, UNAIDS.

KELIN advocates for access to essential medicines, and required health technologies for communities of persons living with HIV and affected by TB. Kenya has a large TB disease burden and is ranked 15 among the 22 high burden countries that collectively contribute about 80% of the world’s TB cases. It is however worrying that the two new TB drugs, bedaquiline and delamanid, are still inaccessible to TB patients in Kenya. Lack of essential and better medicines and technologies has devastating consequences to millions of people in need.

To contribute to the discussion and for live updates follow KELIN on our social media platforms: Twitter: @KELINkenya; Facebook:

For more information contact:
Timothy Wafula

Programme Officer HIV & TB

Kenya Legal and Ethical Issues Network on HIV & AIDS (KELIN)
4th Floor, Somak Building, Mombasa Road
PO Box 112-00200, KNH

Reclaiming rights, Rebuilding lives. KELIN promotes and protects Health-related rights.

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