WTO: 2007 NEWS ITEMS

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Held in Geneva, this three-day WTO Workshop on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health was part of the WTO technical cooperation and capacity-building activities — “TRIPS” is “trade-related intellectual property rights”, the name used for the WTO’s intellectual property agreement.

Like the first and second workshops in September 2005 and November 2006, this one aimed to ensure that the participants have the information necessary so that their countries can make use of the TRIPS Agreement’s flexibilities for public health purposes.

Among other subjects, the workshop looked at the additional flexibility agreed by members in August 2003 and December 2005 to allow generic versions of patented medicines to be made under compulsory licence for export to countries that cannot manufacture the medicines themselves, sometimes called the “paragraph 6 system”.

Other workshops have also been held for African countries in Mauritius in June 2006 and for the Asia Pacific region in Macao in July 2007. In addition, the TRIPS public health flexibilities figure prominently in other WTO national and regional technical cooperation events on the agreement.

The workshop features presentations by WTO officials, representatives of other intergovernmental organizations such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), World Health Organization (WHO), Global Fund, and UN Development Program (UNDP), representatives of non-governmental organizations such as the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and representatives of some WTO member governments. Participants are also undertaking practical exercises.

The participants come from: Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, the Gambia, Hong Kong China, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Malaysia, Mali, Namibia, Peru, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey, Vietnam and Zambia.

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