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Patent Information & Transparency: A Methodology for Patent Searches on Essential Medicines in Developing Countries

Photograph by Manu Brabo

A report by UNDP, co-authored by MSF's Barbara Milani, lays out a four-step methodolgy for conducting patent searches in developing countries providing an inexpensive and pragmatic option to perform a quick search and access patent information on essential medicines.

From Executive Summary:

"Where patents pose a barrier, the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health signed by WTO Members in 2001 had confirmed that governments may use a range of measures known as TRIPS public health flexibilities (such as compulsory licensing and parallel imports) to ensure access to affordable medicines. In order to make informed and effective use of these TRIPS flexibilities to procure or produce medicines, information about the patent status of the medicines is required.

In many developing countries, this information can sometimes be difficult to obtain. In this context, drug procurement agencies, can be hesitant in choosing the option to procure the more affordable generic versions, for fear of patent infringement. There is thus, a need for a costeffective and pragmatic approach to speedily obtain data on the patent status of essential medicines, so that governments and procurement agencies can make informed decisions on available options for production and procurement of generic medicines..."

Patent Information & Transparency

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