Vietnamese health officials are concerned medicine patents could raise drug prices in an increasingly intellectual-property-aware Vietnam, and called for strict management on their issuance.
Professor Le Van Truyen, said TRIPS – a treaty on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property rights which every nation must comply with once entering the World Trade Organization (WTO) – granted newly-patented medicine a protection period of as long as 20 years.
He said this during a two-day conference themed “Vietnam’s WTO accession and its impact on the health sector” organized by the Vietnamese health ministry and the World Health Organization that began in Hanoi on Monday.
The long protection period would cause difficulty for the Vietnamese medical industry in producing generic drugs related to the patent medicine, Truyen added.
Producing such generic drugs is only possible if you can obtain the nod from the patent holder.
At the conference, the Vietnamese health ministry’s Pharmaceutical Department called on the central Department for Intellectual Property to exercise caution in granting exclusive patents to pharmaceuticals.
The conference also discussed GATS, another WTO treaty – abbreviated from the General Agreement on Trade in Services.