Case 297 - Intellectual Property Rights, Drug Access, and the Doha Round
Elms, Deborah Kay
This two-part case study follows the negotiations in the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round over drug access. The poorest states in the international community argued that the human suffering caused by diseases like HIV/AIDS and malaria required changes to trade rules. The WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement mandated global protection of intellectual property rights for pharmaceutical products beginning in 2005, but the poorest states insisted on revisions that would allow them to manufacture or import generic versions of life-saving drugs. The resulting impasse, as the study explains, blocked these changes and threatened to rupture the Doha Round trade talks more broadly.