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TRIPs and Access to Drugs

Manmeet Singh

Foreign Trade Review, 2002, vol. 37, issue 3-4, 85-104

Abstract: The Paper seeks to e,xamine the impact of obligations under the TRIPs Agreement on access to drugs. The issue of access has been addressed from the point of view of pricing. The spirit of the Agreement is embodied in Articles 7 and 8 and the argument advanced is that the Agreement be interpreted in view of the same. The paper examines the various options available within the framework of the Agreement. The most popular of these is compulsory licensing However, doubts persist as to when it would be possible to take recourse to such a measure. The other possible options under the agreement such as parallel importation and the now popular "Bolar Exemption" have also been examined. The Doha Declaration was hailed as a victory for the developing countries. However, in retrospect it seems that the celebrations were premature. More than one-and-a-half year have passed since the Declaration and the issue is still shrouded in controversy and negotiations are under a deadlock. Further, access under the existing Indian regime has been dealt with. The Patents Amendment Act 2002, which was enacted to bring Indian law in conformity with the Agreement provided for some of the tools discussed in the paper. The need for a comprehensive pharmaceutical policy was recently addressed by the Government and whether the policy is an effective tool or not is the question which needs to be answered. “We are called pirates, but who is being pirated? Patients in countries where there is a monopoly on these drugs.†At present, Zimbabwe, Uganda and the Ivory Coast would require to spend 265 per cent, 172 per cent and 84 per cent of their respective GNPs, just to buy drugs to treat their AIDS patients.

Date: 2002
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DOI: 10.1177/0015732515030305

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