Myanmar Parliamentarians explore the country’s right to access affordable medicines

Oct 24, 2013

Nay Pyi Taw – More than 30 parliamentarians in Myanmar explored how to use global mechanisms and strengthen national laws to retain Myanmar’s right to access affordable medicines. They were part of a group that attended a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and UNAIDS supported information session on the use of Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Flexibilities and access to affordable medicines in Myanmar, held earlier this month.

Myanmar is currently drafting an intellectual property law and embedding TRIPS flexibilities into the law needs to be ensured to retain the country’s right to affordable medicines. The session generated discussions over how to support the development of an intellectual property law while there are growing economic interests in Myanmar from developed countries and the increasing threats of communicable and non-communicable diseases in the country. The session was concluded by confirming the parliamentarians’ active role and commitment to promote the use of TRIPS flexibilities and access to affordable medicines in Myanmar.

Eamonn Murphy, UNAIDS Country Coordinator in Myanmar highlighted that some neighboring countries of Myanmar have incorporated those flexibilities and utilized them for HIV and other critical diseases such as heart disease, cancer, communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Issues related to TRIPS and intellectual property rights remain very complicated and highly-technical in fast-changing environments. Edin Elgsaether, Programme Specialist at UNDP, said key stakeholders such as parliamentarians, government and civil society need to be updated on technical issues and the most recent developments. “Information sessions like this allows more meaningful engagement in debates and decision-making processes for better access to life saving generic medicines” he said.

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