Conflict between Patents and Access to Medicine

Holger Hestermeyer

in Human Rights and the WTO

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199552177
Published online January 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191706936 | DOI:

Series: International Economic Law Series

 Conflict between Patents and Access to Medicine

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This chapter starts by demonstrating in economic terms that pharmaceutical patents result in higher prices in developing countries, thus constituting a barrier to access to medicine in those countries. It shows that this barrier is not justified under human rights law. Neither a human rights protection of inventors, nor the incentive function of patents for encouraging future research can justify patents in the developing world. The chapter then defines the term ‘conflict’ between international regimes and shows that such a conflict exists between the TRIPS Agreement and access to medicine, as an instance of a larger conflict between the WTO Agreements and international human rights law.

Keywords: pharmaceutical patents; developing countries; human rights; TRIPS Agreement; WTO agreements

Chapter.  38618 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Human Rights and Immigration

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