The Doha Declaration

© Chris Stowers/Panos
The Doha Declaration represented a major political breakthrough, since it granted the right of member states to interpret the TRIPS Agreement in the light of their specific sanitary problems and to fully exploit “TRIPS Flexibilities”, in order to promote access to medicines for all.

Composed of seven paragraphs, the Doha Declaration recognised:

  • The seriousness of the problems of public health that particularly affect southern countries (paragraph 1)
  • The need to do more, via the TRIPS Agreement, to resolve these problems (paragraph 2)
  • Concerns relating to the effects of intellectual property on the price of medicines (while maintaining that intellectual property is important for innovation) (paragraph 3)
  • The primacy of measures aiming to protect public health over a restrictive interpretation of the TRIPS Agreement (paragraph 4)
  • The right of each Member to grant compulsory licences, and the freedom to determine their motives. In other words, the Members are free to determine what constitutes, in their eyes, a national urgency (paragraph 5)
  • The possibility, for countries without their own production capacity, to import generic medicines under compulsory licensing (paragraph 6)
  • The duty of developed countries to promote and encourage the transfer of technologies to southern countries, as well as the need to prolong the deadline for implementing intellectual property rights concerning pharmaceutical products in Least Developed Countries as of 1st January 2016 (paragraph 7)