(2004; 110 pages)
V. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The effective use of the TRIPS flexibilities requires expertise in intellectual property law and policy as well as expertise and resources to implement complementary legal and policy measures. While significant efforts are being made to establish these conditions at the national level, many developing countries find it difficult to attain these on their own. Regional mechanisms can significantly help to address these constraints thus helping these countries better to use TRIPS flexibilities for public health purposes. While the role of regional cooperation in the socio-economic, cultural and political development of the countries of the South is well accepted, their role in helping address the impact of intellectual property protection on pharmaceuticals has rarely been examined. This study has demonstrated that regional frameworks, including RECs, have an important role to play in helping developing countries overcome the barriers imposed by patents.
Public health is a common concern and has in fact been identified as a vital area of cooperation in the South, and utilizing the various regional frameworks offers a great opportunity to improve access to essential medicines and related products, services and facilities. A regional approach will empower each developing country to maxi-mise the use of TRIPS flexibilities through sharing resources and expertise. A regional approach will also lead to political unity which is essential in overcoming internal and external pressures to forgo the use of TRIPS flexibilities for public health and other socio-economic purposes or to adopt TRIPS-plus standards. Further, a regional approach can also encourage the creation of a larger market and a regional pharmaceutical industry as well as mechanisms for addressing regulatory issues such as common registration requirements and standards as well as procurement issues.