The Doha Declaration on the Trips Agreement and Public Health, Access to Pharmaceuticals, and Options Under WTO Law

19 Pages Posted: 13 Nov 2002  

Amir Attaran

University of Ottawa - Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine; University of Ottawa - Common Law Section

Abstract

The WTO Ministerial recently agreed the Doha Declaration on Public Health, whose political goal is "to promote access to [patented] medicines" in developing countries. This mandate is given to TRIPS Council, who must report by the end of 2002 on solutions to this problem.

I argue in this paper that the pharmaceuticals access problem is, at best, imperfectly remediable by TRIPS Council; and of the options it can choose, the best is to decide that actions to improve access to patented pharmaceuticals are conditionally non-justiciable for the purposes of WTO dispute settlement. This can be done quickly without needing to amend or re-interpret TRIPS itself; and favorable precedents of conditional non-justiciability exist elsewhere in WTO law.

Leaving TRIPS aside, however, the more immediate benefit of the Doha Declaration for pharmaceuticals access results by applying it to GATT. Steps to promote differential pricing of pharmaceuticals for poor countries, or to reduce import tariffs and prices, are both consistent with the Declaration and fall within the jurisdiction of GATT. I propose that a single decision of the WTO Ministerial, taken by consensus, is sufficient to simultaneously address a number of pharmaceutical access issues arising under TRIPS and GATT, yielding the maximum benefit for public health.

Suggested Citation

Attaran, Amir, The Doha Declaration on the Trips Agreement and Public Health, Access to Pharmaceuticals, and Options Under WTO Law. Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal, Vol. 12, pp. 859-885, 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=333363 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.333363

Amir Attaran (Contact Author)

University of Ottawa - Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine ( email )

451 Smyth Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M5
Canada

University of Ottawa - Common Law Section ( email )

57 Louis Pasteur Street
Ottawa, K1N 6N5
Canada
613-562-5800 ext: 2015 (Phone)
613-562-5659 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
579
rank
42,227
Abstract Views
2,627
PlumX