Book Review: Human Rights and the WTO: The Case of Patents and Access to Medicines, by Holger Hestermeyer
The IP Book Law Review, Vol. 1, No. 1, pp. 46-49, June 2010
5 Pages Posted: 12 Jul 2010
Date Written: July 7, 2010
Human rights and patent rights have become increasingly intertwined in discussions surrounding access to pharmaceutical drugs by citizens of developing countries. This discussion is a particularly contentious one for reasons of socioeconomics and geography. Drug companies in more developed countries (“MDCs”) tend to own the patent rights covering newer medicines, and justify the monopoly prices they charge as a necessary return on investment for inventing new drugs. Less developed countries (“LDCs”), lacking the purchasing power to pay monopoly prices for patented drugs, tend to argue that monopoly prices for drugs violate human rights of access to medicines. The result is an often shrill debate over the primacy of patent rights or human rights. In his excellent book, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE WTO: THE CASE OF PATENTS AND ACCESS TO MEDICINES, Holger Hestermeyer has tackled this complex and contentious conflict, disentangled it into its essential constituent parts, including patent law, human rights, and international trade under the World Trade Organisation (“WTO”) regime and its side-agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (“TRIPS”), and then artfully reconstructed a clear, cogent, and hopeful model of how to approach a resolution. His research is meticulous, his prose spare yet fluent, and his arguments persuasive and well-supported.
Keywords: patent, patent law, patent rights, drug, medicine, pharmaceutical, human rights, access to medicine, international trade, World Trade Organization, WTO, Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property, TRIPS, less developed country, developing country
JEL Classification: K00, K11, K19, K23, K29, K30, K32, K33, K39, K40, K42, K49, F13, I18, L43, O31, O32, O34, O38
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation