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Preparedness of Nepal’s pharmaceutical sector in the face of LDC graduation

South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) and Third World Network (TWN) organized a workshop on “Preparedness of Nepal’s pharmaceutical sector in the face of LDC graduation” on 26 July 2022 to identify the major policy and institutional challenges for the optimal use of flexibilities available under the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) of the World Trade Organization and suggest the way forward in the context of Nepal’s graduation from the category of least developed countries in 2026.


Background Note 

Nepal is graduating from the least developed country (LDC) group in 2026. As an LDC member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Nepal need not provide patent protection to pharmaceutical products. Thanks to the flexibilities for LDCs provided under the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), pharmaceutical companies in Nepal can produce patented medicines without providing patent rights and paying royalty to the innovators. Nepal will lose this flexibility upon LDC graduation. In this context, this workshop, jointly organized by South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) and Third World Network, brings together relevant stakeholders—from policymakers and the pharmaceutical industry to health professionals and civil society—to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the pharmaceutical industry in Nepal to face product patent protection; identify the preparedness of the pharmaceutical industry to make use of  other TRIPS flexibilities; identify the major policy and institutional challenges for the optimal use of TRIPS flexibilities; and suggest the way forward.  

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