After receiving input (presented in sections I to IV) from the resource persons, on the third day, participants formed smaller working groups in order to discuss the numerous important issues raised during the previous two days and to draft recommendations.
Key issues discussed include:
• ASEAN Countries, when revising their intellectual property rights legislation in order to make it TRIPs compliant, should make sure the revised legislation is in the interest of the country; participants were especially concerned that access to drugs should be ensured within the framework of TRIPs;
• Criteria of patentability; what are the current criteria, should they be revised?
• Ethical issues related to the patenting of (modified) living organisms and ‘the patenting of life’ in general;
• Genetic engineering, and the importance of patents in this context;
• How can traditional medicinal knowledge be protected under the intelectual property right system; is there a conflict between the development of traditional knowledge and its protection?
• The significance of WTO Panel rulings with regard to “Bolar-type” provisions, and the implications of these rulings for ASEAN Countries;
• What are the implications, if any, of TRIPs trademark provisions on generic policies, such as generic prescribing, generic substitution and requirements to have generic names (INNs) on the label?
• Current practices with regard to intellectual property rights in different ASEAN Countries and how these practices vary among the ASEAN Countries;
• In order to ensure that the public health interest is taken into account during the implementation of WTO Agreements, as well as during future multilateral trade negotiations, national Ministries of Health should liaise with other relevant government bodies; similarly, cooperation with relevant ASEAN Committees should be pursued;
• The importance of involving NGOs in discussions and future meetings on this topic, and mechanisms via which this could be done;
• Whether ASEAN Countries should work together with other developing countries; and if so, how can this be done, which mechanisms exist?