International Investment Agreements and Public Health: Neutralizing a Threat Through Treaty Drafting

92(7) Bulletin of the World Health Organization 520-525, February 2014

6 Pages Posted: 10 Feb 2015 Last revised: 24 Oct 2015

See all articles by Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law; University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2014

Abstract

The high profile investment claims filed by Philip Morris challenging Uruguayan and Australian measures that restrict advertising and logos on tobacco packaging awakened the public health community to the existence and potential detrimental impact of international investment agreements (IIAs). More recently, Eli Lilly challenged Canada’s invalidation of a pharmaceutical patent under an IIA. All of the cases claim that the intellectual property rights of the investor were infringed. As a result of these cases, many commentators and activists view IIAs as a threat to public health and have lobbied against their inclusion in ongoing trade negotiations. This article does not argue against IIAs. Instead, it seeks to demonstrate how more sophisticated treaty drafting can neutralize the threat to public health. In this regard, the article seeks to engage members of the public health community as campaigners not against IIAs but as advocates of better treaty drafting to ensure that IIAs do not infringe upon the right of a nation to take non-discriminatory measures for the promotion and protection of the health of their populations.

Keywords: investment treaties, BITs, tobacco, public health

JEL Classification: K30, K32, K33, I18

Suggested Citation

Mercurio, Bryan Christopher, International Investment Agreements and Public Health: Neutralizing a Threat Through Treaty Drafting (2014). 92(7) Bulletin of the World Health Organization 520-525, February 2014. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2562740

Bryan Christopher Mercurio (Contact Author)

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F Western Teaching Complex
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong
(852) 2696 1139 (Phone)

University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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