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Implementation of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health - Information

A Conference by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF), Consumer Project on Technology (CPT), Oxfam, Health Action International (HAI) on 28 March 2002

Implementation of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS agreement and Public Health

Technical assistance – How to get it right.

28th March 2002, a one-day conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

MSF, CPT, OXFAM and HAI will hold a conference on the implementation of the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health on the 28th March 2002. This meeting will take place in the wake of WIPO’s Conference on the International Patent System (Geneva, 25-27 March), and one month before WTO’s Symposium on the Doha Development Agenda and Beyond.

The Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health adopted by one hundred and forty two countries gathered at the 4th WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha clearly affirmed that governments are free to take all necessary measures to protect public health, and gave primacy to public health over private intellectual property. "The TRIPS agreement does not and should not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health", the Declaration states, adding that it should be interpreted and implemented in a manner "supportive of WTO members' right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all".

The Declaration gives an unambiguous road map to all the key flexibilities the TRIPS offers, including compulsory licensing, countries’ freedom to determine the grounds for compulsory licensing, and parallel import. In addition, least developed countries can now postpone the provision of pharmaceutical patents by an extra ten years, until 2016.

However, the Doha Declaration risks becoming a useless piece of paper if countries and the international community do not step up efforts to operationalise it. The technical assistance to be provided by different players, including WIPO, WTO, UNCTAD and WHO, will be a key focus of the conference on the 28th March. This meeting will take stock of progress made so far and discuss recommendations on how to make the Doha Declaration work for people.

Participants of the 28th March conference will address the following questions:

Technical assistance for implementation of the Doha Declaration

  • What are the WHO, WIPO, European Patent Office (EPO), WTO, UNCTAD and other international players doing to ensure that the Doha declaration on TRIPS and Public Health is implemented?
  • How can the WTO/WIPO joint initiative to help poorest countries contribute?
  • Does WIPO’s mandate to “promote intellectual property protection” stand in the way of providing appropriate technical assistance?

Implementation legislation

  • Is there a need for model legislation to help implement the Doha Declaration?
  • Who should draft it? What should it say?

Proposals for paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration

  • Five months on from Doha, where do we stand with regards to resolving the question of how to ensure that countries with insufficient manufacturing capacity can find producers of affordable medicines to import from?
  • What steps can countries take now to ensure that production for export to countries who need access to needed medicines can take place?
  • What are the best proposals on paragraph 6 discussed in the TRIPS Council?

Extension to 2016

  • How can LDCs best make use of the extension deadline?
  • Who will propose a specific model provision for national legislation?

Compulsory licensing

  • How to design a fast, cheap and fair procedure for issuing a compulsory licensing?
  • What are the components of an administrative procedure for issuing a compulsory license?
  • How to deal with compensation of the patent holder?
  • What are the “government use” models that can be used to increase access to medical technologies?

The intellectual property system in developing countries

  • How to handle the question of revocation of patents or the problem of invalid patents?
  • How to avoid the granting of “bad” patents?
  • What to do with unchallenged but likely invalid pharmaceutical patents?
  • How to ensure fast, cheap and fair patent litigation procedures?
  • What lessons can be learnt from WIPO’s systems for alternative dispute resolution?

Who should attend?

The meeting will gather developing and developed country representatives, representatives from international organisations (WTO, WIPO, WHO, etc.), national and regional patent offices, pharmaceutical industries (generic and brand name), academia, and nongovernmental organisations.


Experts will address the questions listed above in a series of panels. The participants are expected to actively contribute to the meeting and there will be ample time for questions and discussions. If you are interested in making a presentation, please specify this in your registration e-mail.