Published on: June 28, 2024

Dr. Preeti Chauhan, Head of National Policy at Pallium India, recently participated in a comprehensive five-day course titled “Access to Medicines in India: TRIPS Flexibilities and the Path Forward” (June 10th-14th) held at Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT), Kochi. This program, co-organized by Third World Network-India, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), and the CUSAT IPR Department, focused on critical issues surrounding access to essential medicines in India.

The course delved into the historical context of access to medicines in India, exploring the current landscape and challenges. Key topics included:

●     The Right to Health and its Implementation: Participants examined the legal framework surrounding access to medicines in India, understanding how the right to health translates into policy and practice.

●     TRIPS Flexibilities: Experts explored the flexibilities within the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) that India can leverage to ensure access to affordable medicines. This included sessions on compulsory licensing, opposition procedures, and the scope of patentability.

●     Challenges and Opportunities: The course addressed contemporary challenges like TRIPS-Plus provisions in Free Trade Agreements and the role of competition law in access to medicines.

Through interactive lectures, group discussions, and film screenings, Dr. Preeti gained valuable insights into navigating the complexities of access to medicines. This knowledge will be instrumental in her work at Pallium India, where she advocates for increased access to pain management medications for patients in need.

This collaborative program fostered crucial connections among stakeholders, including policymakers, healthcare professionals, and civil society organizations.

Inspired by this course, we will be posting a series of blogs and articles written by Dr. Preeti in the coming days; by sharing knowledge and best practices, we all can work together to create a future where everyone in India has access to the essential medicines they deserve.

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