Medecins Sans Frontieres and LDCs

(Archives, May 2013) Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) is voicing its support to the extension of the transition period for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to fully implement TRIPs obligations. The exemption is due to expire on 30 June 2013. The deadline does not apply to pharmaceutical patents. The 2001 Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health extended the period for least developed countries to comply with provisions on pharmaceuticals to 2016.  LDCS are campaigning to have their exemption renewed as well as to lift a clause imposed in 2005 which prevents them from amending or rolling back any legislation that reduces the degree of IP protection.  Article 5 of the 2005 Decision states that  “Least-developed country Members will ensure that any changes in their laws, regulations and practice made during the additional transitional period do not result in a lesser degree of consistency with the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement.” According to MSF, that clause can prevent LDC to use any future extension of TRIPs to gain access to affordable  generic medicines. LDCs already confront difficult conditions to tackle epidemics such as TB and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and need to continue to have access to low cost medicines.