ICTSD-QUNO Dialogue on IPRs in Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements and Public Health

23 September 2010

The International Centre for Trade & Sustainable Development (ICTSD) and the Quaker UN Office (QUNO) are holding a dialogue on “IPRs in Bilateral and Regional Trade Agreements and Public Health” on 23rd September (16h30-18h00) in Geneva for a number of developing country government officials dealing with intellectual property and health issues.

The purpose of the dialogue is to present recent developments and research relating to bilateral and regional trade agreements and their implications on public health and access to medicines.

In effect, recent years have witnessed a proliferation of bilateral and regional trade agreements between developed and developing countries. Many of these agreements include IP provisions that go beyond the minimum standards established by the TRIPS Agreement (often referred to as “TRIPS-plus” standards) and may affect the ability of developing countries to use the flexibilities contained in the Agreement for the purpose of protecting public health and promoting affordable access to medicines.

What are the main features of these IP provisions? What is their impact on the price of medicines and public health as shown by recent empirical research? How can governments deal with these provisions when negotiating bilateral and regional agreements and implementing them? These are some of the questions that will be discussed at the dialogue.