Patents and Public Health: Principle, Politics and Paradox

Edwin Cameron and Jonathan Berger

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 131, 2004 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263518
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734021 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Patents and Public Health: Principle, Politics and Paradox

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  • Social and Cultural History


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This lecture discusses how patent protection has been used in order to limit access to essential medicines. It considers how patents can be justified and shows how and why the ‘principle of balance’ has been subverted by the discourse of property rights. This principle lies at the heart of patent protection. The lecture concludes with a consideration of the Declaration on the TRIPs agreement and public health, which is also known as the Doha Declaration. It also presents an analysis of the inaction on the part of developing country governments, which have largely failed to take advantage of the breakthrough achieved at Doha.

Keywords: patent protection; essential medicines; justifying patents; principle of balance; property rights; Doha Declaration

Chapter.  16768 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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