The TRIPS Agreement (Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) is an international agreement that was developed in 1995 under the WTO. This agreement provides protection to patents for at least twenty years.
However, some exceptions in the form of Compulsory Licensing and Parallel Imports have been provided.
The "compulsory license" allows countries to impose the use of a license in the state for reasons of public interest.
[...] It is necessary to clarify that these are not mere statements of intent. It is necessary to mean these words and work towards the improvement of the lives of millions of patients by establishing a genuine policy of democratizing access to treatment. The company policy of Glaxo SmithKline (GSK) can not be governed solely by the law of the profit. It is indeed a business, but is also listed in a particular environment, the health sector. The human and social consequences of its decisions are extremely important and should become the basic criteria of any decision made. [...]
[...] The marketing by such generic manufacturers will drive down the prices charged by big pharmaceutical companies. The ethical impact would be profound; it would mean a democratization of treatment and the opportunity for millions of people to live better. NGOs NGO's have always been engaged in an ethical fight against medical apartheid. They feel that they cannot accept millions of people dying of AIDS in Africa, without access to antiviral treatment, when their suffering can be reduced and life expectancy increased. [...]
[...] The central ethical issue here is that of the meaning and purpose of intellectual property. What should GSK stand by? Should it protect public Interest by ensuring universal dissemination of knowledge and inventions in exchange for a monopoly on the use for a limited period, or should it protect the knowledge, ensuring the profits of a business enterprise, to the detriment of the health of millions of people? The dropping of charges against the South African government was the first sensible decision. [...]
[...] The tiered pricing, which takes into account the ethical issues of access of medicines to the poor in developing countries, seems to hardly meet the challenge of economic and commercial rights of intellectual property. While preserving the role of patents in encouraging research and development in the pharmaceutical sector, how can the company make sure that the same patent protection for pharmaceutical products does not prevent access to medicines in developing countries? After establishing that strengthened intellectual property rules would delay the entry of generic drugs into the market, certain flexibilities have also been introduced. [...]
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