Online Program

Intellectual property in trade agreements

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

James Love, MPA, Knowledge Ecology International, Washington, DC
Trade policies today are creating global norms for intellectual property rights, reimbursement policies for drugs and medical devices, the regulation and marketing of health enhancing or destroying products, and a plethora of other relevant topics.  The agreements are typically negotiated in a system of asymmetric secrecy, where corporations with financial interests in the outcomes have preferred a deep access to details of negotiations, and the general public does.  The new trade agreements also create rights for investors but not consumers to challenge policies in private arbitration.

There is a need to change the process for trade negotiations, so the negotiating text proposals are public, as is the case for many other global norm setting negotiations, including those conducted by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).  The content of the negotiations now focuses on expanding monopolies and increasing prices of drugs and medical devices, and this direction needs to be changed.  New agreements should not only protect consumers from high prices, but also build cross border cooperation in funding the production of knowledge goods including R&D for new drugs and vaccines, where prices can be delinked from R&D costs, through combinations grants and innovation inducement prizes.

The paper will highlight the most damaging features of the agreements on intellectual property rights, and set out a practical way to build the new paradigms which protect human rights, consumers, and facilitates the production of knowledge as public good.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Biostatistics, economics
Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain how intellectual property provisions of trade agreements have important effects on access to health care and essential health commodities.

Keyword(s): Health Law, Social Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Director of Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) an NGO that received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions for work on intellectual property rights. In 2013, I received the EFF Pioneer Award for work on a UN treaty on copyright exceptions for persons who are blind or have other disabilities. I am an expert in compulsory licensing, an advocate of delinking R&D costs from drug prices, and have followed trade policies since 1994.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.