frican Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (Aripo) director general Fernando Dos Santos has said the three-day health sector meeting Lilongwe will help African countries come up with medical intervention policies to be accepted in the world.
He said this in an interview yesterday after the official opening of the high level decision and policy makers’ meeting which focuses on promoting policy coherence on health technology innovation and access in the Aripo region. It was launched by President Peter Mutharika.
Said Dos Santos: “The meeting will tackle the issue of access to medicine which is also influenced by intellectual property laws. We know that intellectual property laws are criticised that they may sometimes create unbalance in protecting owners of patents.
“The meeting is trying to explore the possibility to have the World Trade Organisation [WTO] allow least developed countries to come up with policies that address these imbalances.”
He, therefore, said as regulators the participants will find a way to deal with such reception and how to deal with it so that in future African innovations are accepted.
In his opening speech, Mutharika said the meeting has come at the right time when the region is working hard to promote ways of ensuring affordable essential medicines.
He said the world has made health a priority development goal, therefore focusing on promoting well-being for all people is a must.
Said Mutharika: “In our case, we must also be belligerent in supporting research and development of affordable vaccines and medicines for developing countries. We must actively support the innovation of health technologies. Above all, we need to rethink our policies and harmonise them for this cause.”
Aripo was established in 1976 to promote harmonisation and development of intellectual property laws of its member regions. Its administration of patents is governed by the Harare Protocol on Patents and Industrial Designs of 1984. Currently, 18 sub- Saharan countries are party to the Harare Protocol. n