TRIPS Flexibilities In High Demand

By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property Watch

Using flexibilities in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has long been an issue of the developing world. But policymakers gathered at a meeting on access to health in Brussels today said there was an urgent need for European Union countries, too, to make more use of flexibilities.

Nessa Childers, Member of the European Parliament, said, “An important message we need to heed is that we must reverse course on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, to fully implement and promote the flexibilities and safeguards allowed under trade law,” according to a press release from Health Action International (HAI), organiser of the event.

The discussion reflected “the urgent need to debate the role of patents and other IP-incentives on access to medicines,” said Jaume Vidal, policy advisor at HAI. “Given the growing public outrage and challenges posed by high medicine prices, the EU must use all tools at its disposal to make new medicines more affordable and available.”