(2004; 110 pages)
IV. OVERCOMING CONSTRAINTS IN THE USE OF TRIPS FLEXIBILITIES THROUGH SOUTH-SOUTH REGIONAL FRAMEWORKS
The constraints on national efforts to implement the TRIPS flexibilities in a public-health sensitive way demonstrate that developing countries need significant additional resources and technical inputs to take maximum advantage of the flexibilities. An important avenue for providing such support is through regional mechanisms that can complement the national efforts. Public health is a shared concern in all the developing regions of the world and is an area that has been identified as deserving of cooperation in virtually all RECs in the South. A regional approach to use the TRIPS flexibilities is therefore a logical and beneficial approach and can provide creative solutions founded on common purpose, cooperation, collaboration, and collective action. Politically, a collective regional position on matters of public health and access to medicines can provide much needed bargaining leverage for developing countries in their dealings with developed trading partners. Regional collaboration can also facilitate the sharing of information among countries as well as the pooling of resources and expertise for activities such as procurement.
From an economic and public health standpoint, a regional approach can provide incentives for establishing or developing regional pharmaceutical production and help expand research capabilities. In addition, higher effective demand for the same medicines due to climatic conditions and other geographical reasons, as well as cultural aspects, will result in lower consumer drug prices due to increased economies of scale in procurement and distribution. Other important benefits include: the costs associated with adapting medicines to the region may be offset/lowered due to increased economies of scale; stronger local technological capacities/domestic innovation resulting from the pooling of adequate resources including financing, and human capital and physical capital will be stimulated. Finally, a regional approach can also help to improve cross-border disease control.