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Keywords:

  • generic drugs;
  • border measures;
  • TRIPS;
  • access to medicines

In 2008, Dutch customs authorities blocked generic medicines in transit in the Dutch territory on suspicion of their being counterfeit. India and Brazil subsequently claimed that external transit control of medicines is inconsistent with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health and international provisions on access to medicines. This article aims to shed light on the consistency of external transit control of generics with international law, and on the interrelations between issues of intellectual property, free trade and public health at the international level; it shows that TRIPS makes possible a broad extension of IP rights protection while ceilings present some weaknesses.