3. Preventing TRIPS-plus

We monitor trade negotiations, and challenge attempts to increase intellectual property protections at the expense of public health.

Under the banner of free trade and economic cooperation, rich nations such as the USA and the European Union, negotiate and sign Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Typically in such agreements, the wealthier nations use their bargaining power to push for stricter protection of intellectual property (IP) rights, or ‘TRIPS Plus’ measures.

If agreed, such measures can force a country to restrict the use of public health safeguards and flexibilities, in exchange for market access or beneficial tariffs.

If countries agree to these measures it undermines their access to affordable medicines. It essentially makes it easier for corporations to get away with unmerited monopolies.

The pharmaceutical industry is a fierce lobbying power behind this pressure.

What we do

  • We monitor ongoing trade negotiations. 
  • Working closely with governments and key stakeholders we increase transparency and accountability and ensure the implications and consequences are understood.
  • We open up spaces for public health experts, as well as the public, to have meaningful opportunities to participate in, and influence, the negotiation processes. 
  • We reject any provisions that reduce the public health safeguards provided by TRIPS flexibilities in bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

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