MSF’s Samuel Mugabo provides nutritional therapeutic food and medications to Foibe Bonane, a displaced mother whose child is battling malnutrition and measles, in North Kivu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo credit: Michel Lunanga/MSF
Technical brief |

From TRIPS to PPR: Addressing Intellectual Property Barriers on Lifesaving Medical Products

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Photo credit: Michel Lunanga/MSF

For nearly three decades, the tensions between intellectual property (IP) protections on medical products and the need for access to these products have remained unresolved. Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has repeatedly witnessed how IP monopolies stand in the way of such timely and equitable access to lifesaving medical products.

This report outlines the existing body of international law and instruments dealing with IP and access to medical products, explains why these have not always proven adequate, and argues that the ongoing negotiations for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response at the World Health Organization are the appropriate platform for addressing access challenges.