19 November 2003

New webpage set up for decision on intellectual property and public health

The WTO website now includes a dedicated page for member governments to make known their use (or intention to use) provisions allowing cheaper pharmaceutical products to be traded more easily across borders under compulsory licensing.

The dedicated page is part of the task of putting into operation the 30 August 2003 decision, which makes it easier for countries in need to import cheaper generics made under compulsory licensing if they are unable to manufacture the medicines themselves.

The decision says that certain notifications “will be made available publicly by the WTO Secretariat through a page on the WTO website dedicated to this Decision.” This page is now available.

On the import side, if a government intends to import a pharmaceutical product under the decision, it has to notify the names and expected quantities of the product that it needs.

A government that has issued a compulsory licence for making and exporting a product under the decision has to notify certain information to the TRIPS Council, including the fact that it has issued a compulsory licence and the conditions attached to it. The government also has to state the website address on which the licensee will post some additional information, such as the quantities being supplied to each destination and the product’s distinguishing features. (The licensee can also use the WTO’s dedicated webpage for this purpose.)

All this information will be posted on the dedicated webpage.

> More on the 30 August 2003 decision
> More on intellectual property and public health