08 September 2014
Seychelles is in accession talks to become a WTO member. One of the consequences of WTO membership is the compulsory adherence to the TRIPS Agreement. Adjustments of the 1901 national patent law (last revised 1991) to be compliant with TRIPS will likely lead to longer patent terms (20 rather than 14 years), make patents easier to obtain, and risks making (essential) medicines more expensive. A new Industrial Property Law (Act 7 of 2014) has just been approved by the National Assembly. The national IP Committee is currently writing an IP policy. This seems to be a good moment to analyse and discuss the possible negative impact of strengthened IP/Patent legislation on health and access to medicines.
The Southern African Regional Programme on Access to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) support the Seychelles Government in its efforts to provide access to essential medicines for all Seychellois though technical assistance. SARPAM is a regional project funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) that assists SADC Member States in implementing the Pharmaceutical Business Plan 2007-2013 (PBP). Although the PBP ended in December 2013, SARPAM will continue to work on operationalizing its objectives up to the end of 2014. A review of the PBP is currently under way and it is likely that it will be renewed. Further, the SADC Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) prioritises the response against HIV and AIDS as a regional intervention area.
Seychelles is a developing country that is in accession talks to WTO. This will mean that it should soon be compliant with the TRIPS agreement. Presently Seychelles does have a National Health Policy nor a National Medicine Policy.
Civil society is therefore being invited to attend a briefing that will enhance its understanding of:
o The TRIPS agreement and its impact on access to essential medicines, and the relative advantages/disadvantages of utilizing TRIPS flexibilities to promote access to essential medicines.
o The role of the various stakeholders in moving forward the national IP agenda.
o The role of the Seychelles Intellectual Property Office and its observer status in ARIPO in national and regional IP policy and patenting of medicines
- Participants will have agreed on mechanisms for cooperation, collaboration, and coordination towards developing an agenda for incorporating TRIPS flexibilities into national legislation
- Participants will have an enhanced understanding of the current national process aimed at amending IP legislation, and how they can participate in the process.
- Participants will have explored some policy options that will facilitate and promote better access to expensive, currently unaffordable, medicines
- Development partners will have identified possible areas of technical and financial support
A Half Day Workshop is being organised on:
Tuesday, 16 September 2014, 14:00-17:15
Venue: Sheik Kaliffa Conference room, Ministry of Health
All civil Society Members are being invited to attend.
Kindly confirm your participation by calling Ms Henry on 4325550/52