However, many concerns have been raised as to the efficiency of the compulsory licence mechanism provided in the Protocol, and further efforts are required for its effective implementation.
We have of course to bear in mind that the TRIPs amendment was the result of lengthy and difficult negotiations among the WTO Members. A re-negotiation among the 150 Members, if it were to happen, would have uncertain results, including the risk of making the conditions more restrictive in terms of eligible countries and scope of diseases covered.
The EU must ensure by all means that the mechanism becomes fully operational. It should also encourage pharmaceutical-related transfer of technology, research and capacity strengthening in developing countries.
The compulsory licensing mechanism of the TRIPs Protocol addresses only part of the public health problems in the developing world. Measures aimed at better functioning healthcare systems and infrastructure are equally indispensable. Targeted EU development assistance is important in that respect.
We have to ensure that medicines reach populations in need and that they should not be diverted from the markets for which they are intended, notably the LDCs and other low-income countries.
With the EU and its Member States' acceptance of the TRIPs Protocol, the total number of WTO members who have done so would reach 34, and more countries would be likely to follow. Then, effort must focus on other essential aspects of the public health issue in the developing countries. All the more, a holistic approach addressing both prevention and treatment is required.