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The first step in making use of flexibilities is to create the legal and policy space to make them operational. On one hand, this involves amending or enacting specific legal and administrative norms that set out the details for authorising a compulsory licence, or describing the steps to negotiate a voluntary licence. On the other hand, it is critical that authorities inform all stakeholders (including patients, patent holders, organised civil society and the generic and innovative pharmaceutical industry) that flexibilities are among the measures available to promote and protect public health. In doing so, they must be made aware of the conditions that would allow their implementation. This includes, among other things, anti-competitive practices, frivolous patenting and the failure to exploit innovation.
For that reason, we have produced a brochure to guide European policymakers and lawmakers in how to effectively use flexibilities and other intellectual property management tools to improve access to medicines. The brochure is free to download.
To aid this process, we organised an event at the European Parliament in May 2018, during which we took a closer look the intellectual property framework, and the role that TRIPS flexibilities could play in containing costs and improving and securing access to medicines in the EU and beyond. The entire discussion is available to view below: