Risking Health: Failing to Balance Access to Essential Medicines and the Protection of Intellectual Property in Developing Countries Facing a Continuing HIV/AIDS Disaster
32 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2009
Date Written: August 26, 2009
This article questions many of the existing responses to the problem of providing access to essential medicines in developing countries, especially in the context of the continuing global HIV/AIDS pandemic. Arguing that the dominant understanding of the existing legal framework disproportionately shifts the risk of diseases and the HIV/AIDS pandemic in particular, onto those who are most vulnerable and concludes that at a minimum a reversion to a more limited intellectual property regime in the context of public health might achieve a better balance between the various national and private interests that have been the focus of the global intellectual property regime. I suggest that an alternative understanding might support the demands of a more human solidarity, that might bring hope to millions of people whose lives are indelibly marked by the burden of diseases, and who in other circumstances might be able to manage their health conditions so that they can remain valued members of their communities and productive citizens of their countries.
Keywords: HIV, AIDS, essential medicines, South Africa, intellectual property
JEL Classification: K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation