Economic Interests, Intellectual Property Rights, and the Politics of Trade Multilateralism: An Analysis of Canada's Response to the Amendment of TRIPS Article 31(f)
35 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2007 Last revised: 18 Jul 2014
Date Written: February 29, 2008
When the World Trade Organization's intellectual property rights rules were amended in 2003 to allow Members to export generic medicines to countries battling HIV/Aids, Canada was the first country to change its domestic legislation accordingly. This appeared to mark a substantive policy shift for Canada. However, the Jean Chretien Pledge to Africa Act has been used just once in four years and Canada's movement in this area seems to be more symbolic than real. Pharmaceutical interests intensively lobbied Congress and the Canadian Federal Government in an attempt to derail or stall both the TRIPS amendment and Canada's legislative response to it. In the final balance, Canada's legislative response reflects a cost/benefit analysis in which the cost of opposing foreign pharmaceutical interests outweighs the potential benefits to Canadian generic manufacturers.
Keywords: WTO, intellectual property, Canada, trade liberalization, HIV/Aids, international humanitarian assistance
JEL Classification: F02, F13, F19, F42, J18, K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation