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TRIPS Agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean



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Research Has the implementation of the TRIPS Agreement in Latin America and the Caribbean produced intellectual property legislation that favours public health Maria Auxiliadora Oliveira 1 Jorge Antonio Zepeda Bermudez 2 Gabriela Costa Chaves 3 Germ n Vel squez 4 Objective The World Trade Organization s Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights TRIPS Agreement establishes minimum standards for intellectual property rights including patent protection for pharmaceuticals therefore it may make it dif cult for developing countries to gain access to medicines especially those countries that are the least developed This study aims to determine whether implementation of the TRIPS Agreement in Latin American and Caribbean countries has generated patent legislation that is sensitive to public health needs Methods Legislation in 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries was analysed The variables considered in the analysis were the term of patents issued patentable subject matter transition periods that is time until legislation was enacted reversal of the burden of proof of patent infringement exhaustion of rights compulsory licensing and the early working exception which allows a country to complete all procedures necessary to register a generic product before the original patent expires Findings By 2000 all of the countries studied had reformed their legislation to conform to the agreement Brazil and Argentina used the transition period until 2005 to grant patents in the pharmaceutical industry All countries except Panama made use of the safeguards and exibilities available through the agreement by including mechanisms for compulsory licensing in their legislation Argentina Bolivia Colombia Ecuador Peru and Venezuela countries that represented the Andean community the Dominican Republic and Panama included mechanisms to allow parallel importation Mexico did not Brazil only permits parallel importation after a compulsory licence has been issued The early working



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