Globalization and Access to Drugs. Perspectives on the WTO/TRIPS Agreement - Health Economics and Drugs Series, No. 007 (Revised)
(1998; 97 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentAbbreviations and acronyms
View the documentExecutive summary
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contents1. Brief historical background to the international trading system
Open this folder and view contents2. Reading the TRIPS Agreement from the perspective of access to drugs
Open this folder and view contents3. Conclusions: issues at stake and constraints on access to drugs
View the documentDefinitions and terminology4
Close this folderSelected bibliography5
View the documentGATT/WTO and the TRIPS Agreement
View the documentThe TRIPS Agreement and pharmaceutical products
View the documentCountry studies
View the documentOther documents in the DAP - Health Economics and Drugs Series
View the documentBack cover

The TRIPS Agreement and pharmaceutical products

• Bale HE. Uruguay Round negotiations on intellectual property: a step forward? 3rd Annual Conference on International Trade, Washington College of Law of the American University, 3 October 1991.

Key words: pharmaceutical industry, intellectual property, Mexico, Canada, GATT.

Language: English.

Address: Washington College of Law of the American University.

Summary: Short speech from the Senior Vice-President, International, Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, USA, on the position of the pharmaceutical industry involved in basic research and its motivations for enhanced protection of intellectual property. Demonstrates the preponderant role of the pharmaceutical industry in the discovery of new molecules and its degree of dependency on patents for a return on the investments made in this research. Brief description of the position of Canada and Mexico in regard to intellectual property.

• Challu PM. The consequences of pharmaceutical product patenting. World Competition, 1991, 15:2.

Key words: patent, pharmaceutical product, economic development, social costs.

Language: English.

Address: World Competition, P.O. Box 5134, 1211 Geneva 11, Switzerland.

Summary: Economic study of the consequences of the patentability of pharmaceutical products. Analysis of the nature of the advantages: relationship between a country’s capacity for invention and the existence of a system of patents for pharmaceutical products; relationship between a country’s degree of economic development and its capacity for invention; patentability of pharmaceutical products as the culmination of a country’s economic development; global expansion of patent protection of pharmaceutical products. Analysis of the costs resulting from the patentability of pharmaceutical products in terms of products and market structures, especially public and social costs.

• Challu PM. Adaptation of national legislation to TRIPS Agreements of GATT’s Uruguay Round, aimed at assuring inhabitants best accessibility to pharmaceuticals. CILFA. Buenos Aires, 1995.

Key words: patent, public health, pharmaceutical product, developing country.

Languages: English, Spanish.

Address: Centro Industrial de Laboratorios Farmacéuticos Argentinos, Esmeralda 13D, 5° piso, 1035 Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Summary: General provisions and basic principles of the TRIPS Agreement authorizing Member States to elaborate their legislation on intellectual property taking account of public health and of nutrition. Analysis of the potentialities of the Agreement to minimize the monopoly conferred by a patent in order to improve supply and accessibility to pharmaceutical products: exceptions to exclusive rights, exhaustion of intellectual property rights and parallel importation, compulsory licences, reaction to anti-competitive practices in licence contracts, transitional periods.

• Correa CM. The Uruguay Round and drugs. WHO Task Force on Health Economics. Geneva: World Health Organization, 1997 (unpublished document WHO/TFHE/97.1).

Key words: pharmaceutical product, patent, licence, secret, developing country.

Languages: English, Spanish.

Address: WHO Task Force on Health Economics, Action Programme on Essential Drugs, WHO, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland. Accessible by e-mail:

Summary: A very detailed discussion of the TRIPS Agreement in regard to drugs. Covers the Articles on patents, undisclosed information and transitional periods, likely to affect trade in pharmaceuticals. Conclusions on the impact of the Agreement on development, production and marketing of drugs.

• Csizer Z. (UNIDO). Opportunities and risks to develop domestic pharmaceutical industry in Asia-Pacific developing countries. UNCTAD Workshop on expansion of Trading Opportunities for Asia-Pacific developing countries, Subic Bay, Philippines: 15 - 17 November 1995.

Key words: pharmaceutical industry, patent laws, price controls, Argentina, Brazil, India, USA.

Language: English.

Address: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, P.O. Box 300, A-1400 Vienna, Austria.

Summary: An analysis of the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry and a study of the implications of the Uruguay Round Agreements for the pharmaceutical industry, in particular the TRIPS Agreement and its consequences in Argentina, Brazil, India and USA.

• FIIM/IFPMA. GATT/TRIPS and the pharmaceutical industry: a review. Geneva, 1995.

Key words: pharmaceutical product, intellectual property, patent, transitional provisions.

Language: English.

Address: FIIM/IFPMA, 30 rue de St-Jean, P.O. Box 9, 1211 Geneva 18, Switzerland.

Summary: Presents the view of International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers on the TRIPS Agreement. Developments concerned with the general provisions, the rules relating to patents, the means of ensuring respect for intellectual property rights, the settlement of disputes and the transitional provisions.

• Health Action International. Power, patents and pills: an examination of GATT/WTO and essential drugs policies. Seminar report, HAI-Europe, 1997.

Key words: international trade, public health, developing countries.

Language: English.

Address: HAI-Europe, Jacob van Lennepkade 334-T, 1053 NJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Summary: Brief description of the GATT and the WTO, their history and development, and the main provisions of the new trade agreements. Presentation of the position for the consumers’ movement, emphasizing the influence of the pharmaceutical industry lobbies in the establishment of development costs of pharmaceutical products. WHO’s view on the Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade and the TRIPS Agreement. Description of the work of the WTO and its position in the pharmaceutical field. An NGO’s view stressing the unjustified advantage the Agreement gives to multinational corporations at the expense of developing countries and of public health.

• Nogues J. Patents and pharmaceutical drugs: understanding the pressures on developing countries. Journal of World Trade, 1990, 24(6):81-104.

Key words: developing countries, patent, pharmaceutical industry, generic.

Language: English.

Address: Journal of World Trade, P.O. Box 5134, 1211 Geneva 11, Switzerland.

Summary: In the context of the Uruguay Round negotiations, a reminder of the pressures brought to bear by industrialized countries on developing countries to strengthen protection of intellectual property rights. Analysis of the relative importance of patents for the pharmaceutical industry, the stakes attached to the duration of patents, the growing competition from the generic drugs industry and its impact on the prices of pharmaceutical products.

• Nogues J. Social costs and benefits of introducing patent protection for pharmaceutical drugs in developing countries. The Developing Economies, March 1993, 31-1:24-53.

Key words: developing countries, pharmaceutical products, patents, essential drugs.

Language: English.

Address: Institute of Developing Economies, 42 Ichigaya-Hommura-cho Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162, Japan.

Summary: An economic analysis of the many and contradictory advantages and disadvantages claimed by the promoters and detractors of generalized patentability of pharmaceutical products in developing countries.

• Otten A. The implications of the TRIPS Agreement for the protection of pharmaceutical inventions. Presentation at the International Conference of Drug Regulatory Authorities. Bahrain: 10-13 November 1996. WHO Drug Information, 1997, 11:1.

Key words: patent, pharmaceutical product, licence, parallel imports, anti-competitive practices, developing countries, trade secrets.

Language: English.

Address: Drug Information Association, 321 Norristown Road, Suite 225, Ambler, PA 19002-2755, USA.

Summary: A general overview of the TRIPS Agreement, followed by an analysis on the provisions of the Agreement that have to do with pharmaceuticals: patentability, rights conferred on the patent holder, compulsory licences, anti-competitive practices, undisclosed information, transitional provisions and the settlement of disputes.

• Remiche B, Desterbecq H. Les brevets pharmaceutiques dans les accords du GATT: l’enjeu? In: Revue Internationale de Droit Economique (RIDE), 1996.

Key words: patent, drugs, developing countries, compulsory licences, local working, anti-competitive practices, parallel imports.

Language: French.

Address: Association Internationale de Droit Economique (AIDE), 3 Place Montesquieu, 1348 Louvain-la Neuve, Belgium.

Summary: Very detailed juridical analysis of the new situation of pharmaceutical patents with the establishment of the WTO. Reviews the traditional fundamental elements of patents and describes their new function that has led to the TRIPS Agreement. Raises the problem of the inclusion of intellectual property law in the domain of multilateral trade. Analyses and discusses all the provisions of the Agreement relating to patents, and particularly the limitations of patent rights.

• Rozek RP. The consequences of pharmaceutical product patenting: a critique. World Competition, 1993, 16:3.

Key words: economic development, developing countries, patent, pharmaceutical industry.

Language: English.

Address: World Competition, P.O. Box 5134, 1211 Geneva 11, Switzerland.

Summary: A critique of Pablo Challu’s article, published in the same journal in 1991. Three main arguments: an erroneous approach to the economic development of a state, questionable and incomplete data, and inappropriate cost analyses.

• Subramanian A. Putting some numbers on the TRIPS pharmaceutical debate. Special issue on the management of international intellectual property. Int. J. Technology Management, 1995, 10 (2/3):252-268.

Key words: patent, pharmaceutical product, market, price, retroactive legislation, compulsory licence, Argentina, India, Malaysia.

Language: English.

Address: International Journal of Technology Management, 17 Beeward Close, The Leyes, Wolverton Mill, MK12 GLJ, United Kingdom.

Summary: Estimation of the consequences of the introduction of patents for pharmaceutical products in terms of prices, benefits and welfare of the population in a certain number of developing countries.

• Weissman R. A long, strange TRIPS. University of Pennsylvania Journal of International Economic Law, 1996, 17:4.

Key words: developing countries, pharmaceutical industry, patent, essential drugs.

Language: English.

Address: University of Pennsylvania, Journal of International Economic Law, USA.

Summary: An overview of the different policy options possible in terms of patents. Background to the offensive taken by the pharmaceutical industry before and during the Uruguay Round negotiations. Analysis of the TRIPS Agreement, discussing in particular the margins of freedom the Agreement leaves to governments to elaborate a system of patents for pharmaceutical products. Conclusions suggest the alternative for developing countries of establishing an essential drugs programme.

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