The World Trade Organization’s agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) has established common minimum standards of patent protection across the globe. Countries had different transition periods to adapt to international rules according to their level of development. Least Developed Countries (LDCs) had an extended period to start applying TRIPS and patent protection in general (by 2021), with a further extension specifically for pharmaceuticals (2033). With the general transition period coming to an end and some countries ceasing to be in the LDC category, how can national TRIPS implementation be done in a manner protective of innovation and access to medicines?
Using the case study of Bangladesh, Dr. Monirul Azam presents a plan of action developed to guide countries in their national implementation of the TRIPS Agreement, identifying legal, technical and infrastructural changes required. He offers specific policy recommendations to comply with international stipulations while still maintaining policies for the development of local industry and integrating long-term innovation and access objectives. Sangeeta Shashikant then discusses the pharmaceutical transition period and its implications for innovation and access to medicines both within LDCs and globally.