How countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) can use the World Trade Organisation and the European Community flexibilities for better access to affordable HIV/AIDS medicines

Kingah, S.S., Smis, S. and Söderbaum, F. 2008. How countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) can use the World Trade Organisation and the European Community flexibilities for better access to affordable HIV/AIDS medicines. in: Bösl, A., Breytenbach, W., Hartzenberg, T., McCarthy, C. and Schade, K. (ed.) Monitoring regional integration in Southern Africa yearbook Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa.

Chapter titleHow countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) can use the World Trade Organisation and the European Community flexibilities for better access to affordable HIV/AIDS medicines
AuthorsKingah, S.S., Smis, S. and Söderbaum, F.
EditorsBösl, A., Breytenbach, W., Hartzenberg, T., McCarthy, C. and Schade, K.
Abstract

This paper discusses the ways in which countries of the Southern African

Development Community (SADC) can maximise the patent-related advantages that

are available to developing countries and regions by flexibilities offered by the World

Trade Organisation (WTO) and the European Community (EC). Article 31 of the

Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPs) provided only

limited derogation to the exclusive rights that a patent holder may have under Article

28 of TRIPs. The entry into force of the agreement in developing countries entailed

that important (cheaper) generic medicine manufacturers such as Brazil, China, India

and South Africa would not be able to use TRIPs to supply needed medicines. This

problem became known as the ‘Doha Paragraph 6 Problem’ as it was included in the

2001 Doha Declaration under the section of TRIPs and public health. The

Declaration called for a solution to the problem by the end of 2002. Although this

deadline was not met, an interim solution to the problem was worked out by the

TRIPs Council of the WTO. This interim solution provided generous options for countries in need. The decision was integrated into the TRIPs Agreement as a

permanent amendment in December 2005. In the EC, Regulation 816/2006 was

adopted to apply the system which had been crafted at the WTO. So far only one

country (Rwanda) has used the system to purchase affordable HIV/AIDS medicines

from Canada. SADC is a region that has high levels of prevalence rates of HIV/AIDS.

The WTO and EC flexibilities have not been used by SADC countries. One of the

advantages of the flexibilities is that benefits are specifically guaranteed to regional

trade arrangements like SADC’s. Why has there been use an under-utilisation of the

flexibilities? This paper argues that elements such as lack of awareness on the

SADC side, the complicated nature of the procedures in the use of the flexibilities,

and the actions of international charities explain the limited use of the system in SADC. It advocates for a more proactive involvement of SADC and its member states

in the negotiations on the various ways in which access to medical products

(especially second line HIV/AIDS medicines) can be eased for SADC’s citizens.

Book titleMonitoring regional integration in Southern Africa yearbook
Year2008
PublisherTrade Law Centre for Southern Africa
Publication dates
Published2008
ISBN9780981422121
Web address (URL)http://www.kas.de/wf/doc/kas_16110-1522-2-30.pdf?090403170042
Journal citation8, pp. 270-302

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