The Impact of ‘TRIPS-Plus’ Rules on the Use of TRIPS Flexibilities: Dealing with the Implementation Challenges

El-Said, Mohammed orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9409-1481 (2021) The Impact of ‘TRIPS-Plus’ Rules on the Use of TRIPS Flexibilities: Dealing with the Implementation Challenges. In: Global Forum on Innovation, Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines, December 2019, Max Plank Institute in Munich.

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Improving the health and well-being of society is a priority to many governments. One essential element within this debate focuses on the accessibility and affordability of medicines for patients. Although interest in this area has persisted for decades, the recent shift in this field is manifested by this now being treated as a global concern, rather than as a regional or a national one. Patients in both developed and developing countries alike are facing the same challenges and are under an increased pressure to access and afford treatment. The recently published UN High Level Panel for Access to Medicines Report explicitly stated its view of ‘access to medicines, vaccines, diagnostics and related health technologies as a serious, multidimensional global problem, with challenges that affect all people and all countries.…the High-Level Panel recognizes that the costs of health technologies are rising globally and are being felt by individuals and by public and private insurance schemes in both wealthy and resource-constrained countries alike’ (UN Secretary General High Level Panel, ‘The United Nations Secretary-General High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines Report: Promoting Innovation and Access to Health Technologies’, (September 2016), 12. This thinking represents a fundamental departure from the previous approach which classified the problem related to access to medicines as one mainly attributed to developing and least developed nations. It is within this debate that the role of intellectual property protection in general and by way of the rise of TRIPS-Plus agreements and their impact on accessibility and affordability of medicines takes centre stage.

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