4281.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 4:50 PM

Abstract #18108

Trips and public health: The debate over intellectual property protection in the developing world

Simon S.K. Tang, MPH, 149 East 81st Street, #3E, New York, NY 10028, 212 733 6480, simon@aya.yale.edu

The era of globalization in the 1990s has largely stimulated the economy through lifting trade barriers, allowing goods and commodities to be traded more freely than before. Several stringent international regulations and trade agreements have thus far been established to monitor trade and technology transfer-related activities. The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was developed by the World Trade Organization in 1996 to safeguard intellectual property (IP) such as copy rights, trademarks, and patents during the exchange of goods among countries. Despite its aim to improve global scientific, economic, and political development, IP protection of pharmaceuticals, biologics, and other health care products is subject to heavy public scrutiny due to its ability to reduce access to and affordability of essential drugs, promote irrational use of drugs, disrupt national policy-making, and dismantle domestic drug industry in the Third World. Presented in this paper are the advantages and disadvantages of TRIPS, and particularly how it impacts public health. Based on contrasting views towards the issue and the author's analysis, a two-fold, micro/macro solution is proposed to: 1) modify provisions of TRIPS to maintain its positive objectives and better accommodate the least-developed countries; and 2) introduce mechanisms of global health governance to monitor the planning, implementation, and evaluation of TRIPS and other trade-related agreements that have significance influence on public health. The conclusions of the analysis and the two-fold solution will provide future research directions for and address the inseparable relationship between trade and public health.

Learning Objectives: At the end of the presentation, the participant should be able to recognize the key public health issues regarding the impact of patent protection of pharmaceuticals on developing countries, and identify some methods to ensure equity in the global health agenda

Keywords: Drugs, Developing Countries

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA