Ahead of next round of negotiations on TRIPS Waiver at the WTO that is going to take place tomorrow, we would like to share our policy brief on "Compulsory licenses, the TRIPS Waiver, and access to COVID-19 medical technologies”. This briefing document provides an overview of a key TRIPS flexibility: compulsory licensing, including government-use licensing. These licenses have been used in the past, especially with respect to antiretroviral medicines to treat HIV/AIDS, cancer treatments, and antivirals to treat hepatitis C. Not surprisingly, compulsory licenses have also already been used as a public health safeguard to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to discussing compulsory licenses as an independent flexibility, this briefing explains how the proposed TRIPS waiver could supplement compulsory licensing given the limitations of TRIPS rules in addressing IP-related pandemic challenges.
The informal TRIPS council meeting taking place tomorrow is critical as it will be the first official meeting for countries after the US position change announcing support to this waiver and after the submission of revised proposal by the co-sponsors. The meeting is also crucial to determine whether all WTO member countries will now agree to start text-based negotiations on this landmark waiver.
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