Trade Agreements, Intellectual Property and Access to Essential Medicines: What Future Role for the Right to Health?

GLOBAL GOVERNANCE OF HIV/AIDS, Aginam & Harrington, eds., Edward Elgar, 2010

Warwick School of Law Research

28 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 19 Feb 2014

See all articles by James Harrison

James Harrison

University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: October 23, 2009

Abstract

There has been much discussion of the impact of TRIPS and TRIPS-plus provisions on the ability of many developing countries to successfully implement healthcare policies which maximise access to essential medicines for fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Amongst these critiques, a substantial number of actors have framed their arguments utilising the discourse of human rights. Most of the actors who have utilised such a human rights discourse focus upon the negative impact of the TRIPS Agreement on the right to health.

This paper seeks to explore the rationale for this human rights discourse and to investigate what it has added to the other types of critiques of TRIPS and TRIPS plus provisions. It will argue that human rights discourse around the issues of the TRIPS Agreement and access to essential medicines has primarily focused on the strength of human rights as universal values which can be utilised as a rallying call to a range of actors coming together to campaign on the issue and a ‘signal’ of the importance of the issue to those seeking to utilise TRIPS obligations to undermine the provision of essential medicines. But it will argue that, given the complex issues faced post-Doha Declaration, there is a need to more deeply engage with the detailed legal obligations of human rights if their full added value in critiquing the impact of TRIPS and TRIPS-plus obligations on access to essential medicines is to be realised.

Keywords: HIV, AIDS, Human Rights, Trade, Intellectual Property, TRIPS

Suggested Citation

Harrison, James, Trade Agreements, Intellectual Property and Access to Essential Medicines: What Future Role for the Right to Health? (October 23, 2009). GLOBAL GOVERNANCE OF HIV/AIDS, Aginam & Harrington, eds., Edward Elgar, 2010; Warwick School of Law Research. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1493309

James Harrison (Contact Author)

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/staff/academic/harrison

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