Background: It has been 24 years since the adoption of the TRIPS agreement by all WTO members in Marrakech. The agreement required countries to amend their national laws and grant 20-year product patents on pharmaceuticals. Since 2005, the true scope and negative impact of this Agreement on access to medicines have become evident.
The extent of work and expertise of CSOs and the critical role they play in balancing WTO mandated IP rules with public interest and public health while also resisting the onslaught of TRIPS-plus measures is under-recognised and under-resourced.
Description: In January 2018, 134 experts, treatment advocates and community advocates from 34 countries gathered in Marrakech at the initiative of ITPC for the first Global Summit on IP and Access to medicines planned as a return to Marrakesh to reflect, discuss and strategize on over two decades of the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement, its impact on health and access to medicines and to both imagine and re-imagine what the next two decades of TRIPS implementation will (or could) bring.
Lessons learned: The Summit highlighted the critical role played by PLHIV, patient groups, NGOs in the implementation of TRIPS flexibilities since 1995 and identified key factors in enabling environment to sustain the work of CSOs in this area. Participants collectively brainstormed on a more radical agenda for the interpretation and implementation of TRIPS flexibilities and identify key opportunities for this agenda and expand access to medicines. The summit provided a platform to discuss successes and setbacks in resisting trade, lobbying and litigation threats that undermine the use of TRIPS flexibilities, push the enforcement agenda and force the adoption of TRIPS-plus measures. Finally, the summit enabled discussions and conceptualisations of alternative frameworks for IP and Health that ensure the primacy of the right to health over trade rules.
Conclusions/Next steps: This presentation aims to share with the broader HIV and access to medicines movement outcomes and conclusions of this unique summit.