Drugs, Drugs Everywhere But Just Not for the Poor
W.I.P.O.J, Issue 2, 2016
14 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2017 Last revised: 14 Sep 2017
Date Written: August 15, 2016
This article attempts to understand the legitimacy and limitations of US involvement in another country’s sovereign actions taken expressly in the public interest, or to protect public health, such as the compulsory licensing of pharmaceuticals. The first section takes the example of compulsory licensing as a legitimate sovereign action and delineates its scope in the light of the international trade obligations under TRIPS. The second section discusses the rights and obligations of the USTR vis-à-vis the United States’ sovereign trading partners and how international trade obligations intersect with the rights of the USTR. The third section outlines the legality of the USTR’s actions in light of the United States’ international obligations. The fourth section discusses the question of whether — and if so, how — the other international organisations, particularly the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), can be involved in restoring the legitimacy of sovereign actions taken in the public interest. The article’s conclusion outlines the importance of co-ordination amongst international organisations as a critical element to achieve the objectives of the trade and developmental agenda.
JEL Classification: trade, patents, compulsory license, USTR
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation