Access to Drugs in Developing Countries
Edited by Kenneth C. Shadlen, Samira Guennif, Alenka Guzmán and N. Lalitha
Chapter 3: Intellectual Property and Access to Medicines: Paradoxes in Moroccan Policy
Gaëlle Krikorian Important changes have taken place in Morocco regarding intellectual property rights and access to medicines in the past few years: changes in the legal and policy framework and in the practices of institutions and individuals. These developments follow at least two different logics: an increased range and protection of exclusive rights on the one hand; better access to health and medicines on the other. Intellectual property law in Morocco has changed significantly in recent years. In 2004 and then in 2006, legislation incorporated the standards of protection required by the agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) as well as higher levels of protection (TRIPS-plus). In the meantime, the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property started to issue patents on medicines in December 2004 and has since been granting more and more of them, using patentability criteria which often do not seem to take into account Moroccan public health interests. Meanwhile, national policies on medicines and public health are facing challenges and changes. The local pharmaceutical industry, mainly producing generic medicines and partly working under multinational licenses, plays an important but declining role in supplying the domestic market for basic medicines. This industry recently made important investments in the modernization and increase of its manufacturing capacities in order to reach international production standards. Despite the absence of patents on pharmaceutical products until recently, prices of medicines are, on average, high in Morocco, particularly for newer products, which represents a barrier to access for the...
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