Several issues relating to the application of patentability requirements may be specific to health-related inventions. WTO Member countries retain a considerable degree of flexibility in addressing most of them. These issues may be appropriately treated in implementing regulations and/or guidelines for the patent office, rather than in the law itself.
Developing countries, particularly those implementing for the first time the patenting of product pharmaceutical inventions, should carefully craft policy in these areas to ensure that patents are granted to real contributions to the prior art and to avoid granting to trivial inventions patents that impede competition. Poor drafting or administration of patent laws may also permit abusive practices that illegitimately extend patent protection beyond the 20-year term.