With the TRIPS patenting in pharmaceuticals and restricting compulsory licensing, there appears to be a patent monopoly through control over pharmaceuticals, which ensures royalties for patent rights therein. However, patent rights that control the use and supply of pharmaceuticals create barriers to access of pharmaceuticals for Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
As an LDC, Bangladesh is likely to face the same consequences in protecting public health interests. Nevertheless, the extended compliance deadline temporarily exempts it from patenting pharmaceuticals. This flexibility offers the country that has a thriving pharmaceutical manufacturing base a big opportunity to copy patented drugs for domestic consumption at affordable prices and their exports to other markets, especially LDCs.
In addition, TRIPS allows the country to make parallel imports from other markets where drugs are cheaper or allows exports of generics made out of patented medicines under compulsory licensing. However, existing intellectual property laws in the country do not support them. Such issues give rise to huge implications among pharmaceutical stakeholders in regard to the price of medicines, their access in protecting public health, and market share of pharmaceutical industries in manufacturing and trading medicines.
Given the existing circumstances and in absence of any further negotiation or arrangement regarding the TRIPS, a least developed country like Bangladesh needs to update its legislations in order to maximise TRIPS flexibilities in copying medicines and supplying them at competitive prices. It also needs to join an international coalition asking for further extension of the compliance deadline for negotiation to generate a common fund to subsidise medicines to meet public health needs.