The World Trade Organization (WTO) should continue drugs patent waiver for Bangladesh as the country graduates from the club of least developed countries (LDC) in 2024.
As an LDC, Bangladesh is enjoying exemption from the patent rights and conditions set by the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
After 2024, the country will need to comply with TRIPS. However, the extension of the TRIPS waiver for Bangladesh will directly benefit developed countries along with other LDCs and developing countries as they will be able to import low-cost medicines from here.
Experts said this at the "Emerging Issues in Access to Treatment for Covid-19 in Bangladesh" jointly organised by Equity BD, People's Health Movement Bangladesh and the Third World Network.
KM Gopakumar, senior researcher and legal advisor at the Third World Network, said: "People in developing countries and LDCs need access to vaccines and other health products to survive the pandemic, which requires widespread availability of these health products."
"TRIPS waiver offers the policy space to do away with the IP monopoly and facilitate the scaling up or production through diversification of the manufacturing base. Also, there is an urgent need to negotiate a smooth transition period for graduating LDCs to address concerns on matters affecting peoples' health," he added.