Review: The Trilateral Study on Health, Intellectual Property, and Trade: The Virtue in Paving a Cleared Roadway

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Review: The Trilateral Study on Health, Intellectual Property, and Trade: The Virtue in Paving a Cleared Roadway

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This contribution reviews an important study—"Promoting Access to Medical Technologies and Innovation: Intersections between public health, intellectual property and trade" (the "Trilateral Study") jointly prepared by the Secretariats of the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization and World Trade Organization, and released in February 2013. The study is an effort to present a consolidated perspective on significant issues involving the relationship between public health, IP and trade subject matter, including how international rules addressing this subject matter may be interpreted, and how national and regional approaches may be implemented. The Trilateral Study affirms and highlights the discretion or flexibility express and inherent in the rule-system that allows governments to develop approaches suitable to the conditions within countries and regions. In this regard, the Trilateral Study is a noteworthy development in that it provides multilateral institutional support for differentiated approaches to addressing public health concerns, and this may help to alleviate or forestall external pressures being brought to bear on countries adopting such approaches.