Regional Consultation and Planning Workshop on 'Use of TRIPS Flexibilities to Access Affordable ARVs in Asia'

31 May 2012

In the Asia Pacific Region, the number of people receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) has increased steadily to an estimated 922,000 people by end 2010, representing an estimated 39% of all people eligible for ART according to 2010 WHO Guidelines. This progress has largely been made possible by the dramatic drop in antiretroviral (ARV) prices over the last ten years due to generic competition.

However, the region continues to lag the global average of 47%, and the annual number of new HIV infections cases is still 50% higher than the annual increase in the number of people receiving ART. In addition, most people in low and middle income countries also don’t have access to the optimal ARV regimens recommended by WHO.

With the decrease of international AIDS funding since 2010, countries are facing new financial constraints that may slow down progress towards universal access to ART. Hence, access to affordable drugs is more critical than ever.

Generic production of new ARVs in India faces barriers since the country amended its patent law to comply with the 1995 TRIPS agreement. Also, most countries in the region are not yet making full use of the TRIPS flexibilities agreed in Doha.

In recent years, there has been a clear trend for patent-holding countries to propose the inclusion of so-called ‘TRIPS+’ provisions in bilateral, and regional and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with low and middle-income countries in the region. If adopted, these provisions would adversely impact access to generic medicines, including ARVs and TB and Hepatitis C treatment. In the Asia Pacific region, this trend is of critical concern, with a number of trade negotiations scheduled to be finalized or initiated in 2012.

In this context, the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV, UNDP and UNAIDS, in partnership with the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), TREAT Asia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are organizing a regional consultation and planning workshop on the Use of TRIPS Flexibilities to Access to Affordable ARVs in Asia in Bangkok, 29 – 31 May 2012.

Meeting Materials:

Summary of Country Mapping Exercise: Expanding Access to ARV Drugs

Related resources:

APN+ (2010). Our Health Our Right: Securing access to generic ARV medicines in Asia.
Global Commission on HIV and the Law (2011). Regional issues brief: Intellectual property rights and access to medicines.
UNAIDS (2012). Press release, 30 April 2012 - 'UN Secretary-General issues recommendations to bolster AIDS response in order to meet 2015 targets'. 
UNAIDS (2011). Doha+10 TRIPS flexibilities and access to antiretroviral therapy: Lessons from the past, opportunities for the future. 
UNAIDS (2011). Implementation of TRIPS and Access to Medicines for HIV after January 2016: Strategies and Options for Least Developed Countries. 
UNAIDS (2011). Speech by Michel Sidibe, 17 July 2011 - 'The time has come for universal access to science'. 
UNAIDS (2011). Press statement, 6 July 2011 - 'India's Commerce Minister pledges continued availability of high quality generic drugs'. 
UNAIDS, WHO, UNDP (2011). Using TRIPS flexibilities to improve access to HIV treatment. 
UNDP, UNAIDS (2012). The Potential Impact of Free Trade Agreements on Publich Health. 
UNDP (2011). Discussion paper: The Doha Declaration ten years on and its impact on access to medicines and the right to health. 
UNDP (2010). Five years into the product patent regime: India's response. 
UNITAID (2012). HIV, tuberculosis and malaria medicines landscape. 
United Nations (2009). Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development: Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Anand Grover. 
WHO (2012). Global forecasts of antiretroviral demand 2012-2013: joint WHO/UNAIDS annual consultation with pharmaceutical companies. 
WHO (2010). Opening remarks by Dr Margaret Chan, delivered at a joint technical symposium on Access to Medicines - 'Access to medicines: the role of procurement policies'. 
WHO (2008). Global strategy and plan of action on public health, innovation and intellectual property. Sixty-first World Health Assembly, Agenda item 11.6. 
WHO (2008). Briefing note: Access to medicines - Country experiences in using TRIPS safeguards. 
WHO (2008). Briefing note: Access to medicines - Public health protection in patent laws: Selected provisions. 
WHO (2008). Briefing note: Access to medicines - TRIPS, intellectual property rights and access to medicines. 
WPO (2010). Patent related flexibilities in the multilateral legal framework and their legislative implementation at the national and regional levels. CDIP Fifth Session, Geneva April 26-30, 2010.

Country patent laws

Viet Nam - National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam 
Philippines - Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines 
Malaysia - Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia - Patent Acts 
India - Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks 
China - State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China 
Thailand - Department of Intellectual Property