Certain non-legal actions can also be undertaken, in order to facilitate protection for traditional medicine. These include for example:
• A system for the collective management of IPR for traditional medicine and traditional medicinal knowledge could be developed, for example by associations of healers and herbalists; these associations could file for patents and PVP on behalf of individual healers, be in charge of negotiating licenses, collect and distribute the royalties, monitor for infringements etc. Maybe they could even provide legal assistance in case of infringement. The system could be modeled upon the example of performing artists, who, like healers, found that it is very difficult for each individual artist to control -or even to keep track of- the use of their creations; by developing collective societies for this purpose, monitoring became feasible and less expensive. Collective IPR management could also be undertaken by an NGO, see for instance the example of Ecuador (box 8).
• National delegations participating in WTO debates on TRIPS should be fully aware of the implications of the different TRIPS provisions on protection of and access to traditional and modern medicines, and should take such public health considerations into account during the discussions and negotiations. This, in turn, will require in-depth analysis of the different options and of their consequences, so that the health sector can provide comprehensive input to those delegations.
From the above it is clear that there are possibilities to provide at least some protection for traditional medicine(s). If and how these should be used will depend on the national context, and on the objectives to be pursued.