Updated on 26 October 2012
A report, Improving access to medicines in Thailand: The use of TRIPS flexibilities, prepared by a team of seven experts from WHO, UNDP, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development and WHO South East Asia Regional Office made the following four remarks after visiting Bangkok in 2008 and holding discussions with stakeholders aimed at facilitating an understanding of the context and circumstances related to the granting of compulsory licenses in Thailand. The following are the remarks:
In seeking greater access to essential medicines, national authorities may consider the full range of mechanisms available to contain costs of essential medicines and examine how the various tools may complement one another.
A sustainable system for the funding of medicines could be based on three main components: 1) the creation or enhancement of a national/social health insurance or of medicine prepayment mechanisms; 2) the introduction and use of all possible cost- containment mechanisms, and 3) the use of TRIPS-compliant flexibilities. The TRIPS Agreement contains a range of mechanisms and options to protect public health that countries can consider when formulating intellectual property laws and public health policies.
The use of compulsory licence and government use provisions to improve access to medicines is one of the several cost-containment mechanisms that may be used for patented essential medicines not affordable to the people or to public health insurance schemes. WHO supports measures which improve access to essential medicines, including application of TRIPS flexibilities.