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Pharmaceuticals, WTO/TRIPs and Women

S Srinivasan

Working Papers from eSocialSciences

Abstract: This paper looks at the effects of WTO/TRIPS and pharmaceuticals on women. The focus is on the poor and women. The first part of the paper tries to show the linkages between the idea of intellectual property (IP), free trade and the so-called Washington Consensus. The latter refers to the almost compulsory and universal advocacy of, among other things, trade liberalisation, privatisation, deregulation and property rights as prerequisites to growth. In reality these dominant economic paradigms have worked to the disadvantage of the poor and especially women. Trying to introduce these ideas – the economic equivalent of “shock and awe†-- in the delivery of health services further worsens health access. Asking poor people to pay for health services – in the name of user fees for instance -- has in reality excluded even more people from the benefits of health and modern pharmaceuticals. Access to generic low-priced medicines – including medicines for HIV AIDS -- has decreased. And there is no level-playing field in reality despite WTO’s efforts at being a neutral arbiter. The FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) tilt the balance of trade in the interests of big pharma and big corporates of the US and EU.

Keywords: pharmaceuticals; drugs; TRIPS; WTO; patents law; intellectual property rights; IPR; generic drugs; low cost medicines; HIV/AIDS; free trade agreements; FTAs; women; Gender Studies; Pharmaceutical industry; Economics; Health Studies (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2005-11
Note: Policy Matters
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