This manuscript addresses how developing countries can maximize access to essential medicines and minimize unwanted side-effects within the legal environment of a compulsory license regime. While compulsory licensing can play a role in improving public health, external social and political conditions must be considered in order to make licensing an effective practice.
"For example, when Thailand attempted to use its compulsory licensing powers, one pharmaceutical company withdrew pending applications for anti-AIDS drugs in response. Moreover, the US government placed Thailand on its special 301 'priority watch list' because of alleged violations of intellectual property law (Bird 2009:211). "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights negotiated in 1986 under the auspices of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the institutional predecessor of the World Trade Organization, incorporated substantial and uniform protections of intellectual property rights into the international trade system. A large body of contemporary academic literature suggests that intellectual property rights on socially valuable goods such as essential medicines give rise to a number of ethical problems. This review paper seeks to give an overview of these problems. Moreover, it offers an outline and discussion of a number of proposals as to how these problems might be alleviated. The paper is primarily descriptive in character. This means that although a personal perspective is sometimes offered, the primary ambition of the paper is not to argue for, and defend, a particular solution to the issues discussed. The aim is rather to highlight, explain and put into perspective a number of important arguments in the debate on the ethical nature of intellectual property rights so that policy-makers and other stakeholders are relatively well-equipped to make up their own mind on the issue.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Providing access to medicines and health care is one of the most challenging issues facing society today. In this paper the author highlights some of the complexities of the health value chain as well as the problems that the world's poor have in terms of access to medical care and medicines. He then attempts to delineate the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders in order to define the specific corporate responsibili-ties of pharmaceutical companies in the context of the entire responsibility system— the strength of which is determined by its weakest link. Finally, he looks forward to a transformational change being wrought for pro-poor health development by forging new coalitions that cut across both the health and traditional development stakeholders.
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