An article published in the March 2014 issue of the World Health Organization Bulletin discusses the evolving issue of access to medicines in Africa.
Africa has traditionally been heavily reliant on generics manufactured in Asia. However, these countries are now moving towards implementing more stringent international intellectual property laws.
For example, the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) requires that patents be made available to all pharmaceutical products. Many countries in Africa have until 2021 to implement these measures as least developed countries.
The article promotes continent-wide collaboration and regional trade agreements to take advantage of prolonged exclusion from the TRIPS agreement requirements to tackle the heavy burden of disease.
This would include building capacities of local manufacturers and incorporating TRIPS flexibilities such as compulsory licencing into their jurisdictions. This would support the free circulation of medicines made by local generic manufacturers within the region.
The article is available here [pdf].
Source: Intellectual Property Watch