In this section you can find key documents about the implications of intellectual property rights on access to medicines.
Access to Medicines: The Role of Intellectual Property Law and Policy
This paper identifies and describes the most critical TRIPS flexibilities and describes the barriers to their widespread use, as well as developments undermining their continued availability. Following 15 years of experience with TRIPS, and the growing number of TRIPS-plus agreements, this paper argues that the existing international intellectual property regime undermines access to medicines in developing countries. Whilst efforts to counter this remain important, the paper argues for a new international regime.
Authors: Mohammed El Said & Amy Kapczynski, Publisher: Global Commission on HIV and the Law Year: 2011
The Doha Declaration on TRIPS and Public Health Ten Years Later:
The State of Implementation
This policy brief examines the implementation of the Doha Declaration in the ten years since its adoption, and the challenges of implementing the TRIPS flexibilities to ensure access to affordable medicines. There is considerable difficulty faced by developing countries with insufficient pharmaceutical manufacturing capability for implementing these flexibilities. Developing countries are increasingly making use of flexibilities for public health purposes, but many need to adopt the appropriate laws that ensure patent offices act in the public interest.
Publisher: South Centre, Year: 2011
TRIPS, Drugs and Public Health: Issues and Proposals
This paper discusses the TRIPS Agreement, patents and access to affordable medicines. It presents evidence of the impact that patents have on the pricing of medicines and on anti-competitive behavior of multinational pharmaceutical corporations. Ahead of the WTO Ministerial Conference in Doha in November 2001, the paper makes a series of proposals, including use of compulsory licenses and parallel imports, to enable developing countries to protect public health and ensure access to medicines.
Author: Cecilia Oh, Publisher: Third World Network, Year: Sept 2001
Mapping Prevailing Ideas on Intellectual Property
This paper attempts to identify current trends in intellectual property (IP) thinking, their origins and transmission mechanisms. A survey was conducted among IP professionals, including attorneys, scholars, policymakers and lobbyists, to determine their views. The survey reveals that ideas on IP are consistent within professions regardless of the country. Within countries, attorneys, civil servants, NGOs, lobbyists and academics hold different views on IP.
Author: Jean-Frédéric Morin, Publisher: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Year: April 2013
Patent Examination and Legal Fictions:
How Rights Are Created on Feet of Clay
Patents are presented as an absolute property, comparable to property over land. This paper focuses on the elusive legal ground on which patents are granted. It discusses the limitations of the examination process and examples of legal fictions that underpin the granting of patents. Further, it suggests that an examination system is a better option than a simple registration system to avoid creating legal monopolies without analyzing the patent claims.
Author: Carlos M. Correa, Publisher: South Centre, Year: Dec 2014
The Structural Changes in the Global Pharmaceutical Marketplace and Their Possible Implications for Intellectual Property
This policy brief examines how changes in the global pharmaceutical marketplace over the past decade and the pressures that has placed on large research and development-based transnational companies have impacted intellectual property policies. The brief examines the impact of multi-nationals buying generic producers and selling in developing countries through these acquisitions. The brief lists the possible consequences for multi-nationals that do not adapt to these changes.
Author: Brian Tempest, Publisher: International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Year: July 2011
WTO Agreements and Public Health
This report introduces World Trade Organization rules and agreements relevant to health. It is written for readers with limited knowledge of these issues. The report analyzes the relationship between trade rules and health issues, and discusses proposals for enhancing policy coherence at the national and international levels in support of health and development goals.
Publisher: The World Health Organization and the World Trade Organization, Year: 2002
Overpatented, Overpriced: How Excessive Pharmaceutical Patenting is Extending Monopolies and Driving up Drug Prices
The report by our partner I-MAK analyzes the twelve best selling drugs in the United States and shows how drugmakers file hundreds of patent applications – the vast majority of which are granted – to extend their monopolies far beyond the twenty years of protection intended under U.S. patent law.
“Overpatented” shows vividly how drugmakers abuse the patent system to introduce repeated and extensive price hikes to block generic competition for years or decades. Read more about the report and its relevance in the drug pricing debate in this Axios exclusive .
Published August 2018.
The problem with patents: Access to affordable HIV treatment in middle-income countries
This joint policy brief, from ITPC/Make Medicines Affordable and Frontline AIDS, describes how patents, and their effect on the cost of life-saving HIV treatment, threatens to undermine the HIV response in middle-income countries.
Published September 2019.