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Globalization, TRIPS and Access to Pharmaceuticals - WHO Policy Perspectives on Medicines, No. 003, March 2001
(2001; 6 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentA new era in global trade
View the documentKey requirements of the TRIPS Agreement
View the documentPublic health and TRIPS
View the documentEvaluating impacts of trade agreements
View the documentWHO perspectives on access to drugs
View the documentFurther reading
View the documentContacts at WHO Headquarters:

Evaluating impacts of trade agreements

Protection of intellectual property rights aims to promote innovation by providing an incentive to invest in research and development. Yet the TRIPS Agreement, which seeks to fulfil this aim, has proven to be one of the most controversial WTO agreements. At least four questions are commonly raised from a public health perspective (Box 4). In view of the impact that the TRIPS Agreement could have on pharmaceuticals, WHO (in accord with World Health Assembly Resolution WHA52.19) is using these four questions to monitor and analyse the effects of globalization and trade agreements on the pharmaceutical sector.

Box 4 - Key questions for monitoring the public health impact of TRIPS

1. Are newer essential drugs more expensive than they would have been if not under patent?

2. Is the introduction of generic drugs being slowed?

3. Are more new drugs for neglected diseases being developed?

4. Are transfer of technology and direct foreign investment in developing countries increasing or decreasing?

Concurrently, having been awarded observer status on an ad hoc basis by the WTO Council for TRIPS, WHO is able to monitor all relevant issues under discussion at WTO that may have implications for the health sector.


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