Regional Consultation and Planning Workshop on 'Use of TRIPS Flexibilities to Access Affordable ARVs in Asia'
In the Asia Pacific Region, the number of people receiving anti-retroviral treatment (ART) has increased steadily to an estimated 922,000 people by end 2010, representing an estimated 39% of all people eligible for ART according to 2010 WHO Guidelines. This progress has largely been made possible by the dramatic drop in antiretroviral (ARV) prices over the last ten years due to generic competition.
However, the region continues to lag the global average of 47%, and the annual number of new HIV infections cases is still 50% higher than the annual increase in the number of people receiving ART. In addition, most people in low and middle income countries also don’t have access to the optimal ARV regimens recommended by WHO.
With the decrease of international AIDS funding since 2010, countries are facing new financial constraints that may slow down progress towards universal access to ART. Hence, access to affordable drugs is more critical than ever.
Generic production of new ARVs in India faces barriers since the country amended its patent law to comply with the 1995 TRIPS agreement. Also, most countries in the region are not yet making full use of the TRIPS flexibilities agreed in Doha.
In recent years, there has been a clear trend for patent-holding countries to propose the inclusion of so-called ‘TRIPS+’ provisions in bilateral, and regional and multilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) with low and middle-income countries in the region. If adopted, these provisions would adversely impact access to generic medicines, including ARVs and TB and Hepatitis C treatment. In the Asia Pacific region, this trend is of critical concern, with a number of trade negotiations scheduled to be finalized or initiated in 2012.
In this context, the Asia Pacific Network of People Living with HIV, UNDP and UNAIDS, in partnership with the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition (ITPC), Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), TREAT Asia, United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO), are organizing a regional consultation and planning workshop on the Use of TRIPS Flexibilities to Access to Affordable ARVs in Asia in Bangkok, 29 – 31 May 2012.
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Country patent laws
Viet Nam - National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam
Philippines - Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines
Malaysia - Intellectual Property Corporation of Malaysia - Patent Acts
India - Office of Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trademarks
China - State Intellectual Property Office of the People's Republic of China
Thailand - Department of Intellectual Property