Tripped again

pharmaceuticals: The Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) regime was amended on December 6, 2005, to ensure patent protection for pharmaceutical products without, however, preventing people in poor countries from having access to medicines. But the production of cheaper varieties of protected drugs is subject to a cumbersome licensing procedure.

biodiversity: The Hong Kong final draft doesn't review article 27.3 (b) of the existing TRIPs agreement, which deals with traditional knowledge and biodiversity issues, as demanded by the South. But it has provisions for protecting geographical indications to products like wines and spirits, which are important for the North. Products such as basmati rice and Darjeeling tea does not come up for such protection.

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