The EAC Secretariat, with the support of GTZ, convened a two-day meeting of stakeholders from all five EAC Partner States, namely Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, United Republic of Tanzania, and Uganda in Arusha, Tanzania.
The objective of this meeting was to discuss the draft "EAC comparative study of EAC Partner States´ patent laws relevant for access to essential medicines".
This study, initiated by EAC´s Sectoral Council of Ministers of Health, is funded by GTZ and carried out by the UNCTAD Intellectual Property (IP) Team and a local consultant from Uganda. It aims at analysing and comparing those provisions of the domestic laws which relate to TRIPS flexibilities with a view to identifying areas of need for harmonisation in order to improve access to medicines in the EAC region. Currently, the patent laws of four of the five Partner States are being amended.
The meeting was designed to officially present and discuss the draft EAC study with stakeholders and to receive their comments and recommendations on the way forward for further necessary action by the relevant EAC policy and legislative organs at national and regional level with regard to the implementation of the WTO TRIPS Agreement and public health safeguards.
The delegates have strong influence in the law and policy making process for access to medicines in their respective EAC Partner States, and included:
- Directors of national intellectual property (IP) offices
- Chief executives of national drug regulatory authorities
- Chiefs/ senior officers from various Ministries (Trade and Industry, Commerce, Health etc.)
- Representatives from national medical stores/ suppliers agencies
- State Attorneys
- Academia from Makerere University, Kampala