WTO Law and Prices of Pharmaceutical Products: Rule of Law Gaps and the Unclear Balance between Trade Protection, Human Rights, and IP Protection
University of the Pacific Law Review, Vol. 51, 2019
20 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2019
Date Written: September 24, 2019
Price of medicine is subject to discussions from ethical, legal, political, and economic perspectives. This article takes a rule of law perspective. Rule of law gaps in political systems cause legal uncertainties for investors and increase transaction costs for pharmaceutical producers. That can cause prices of pharmaceutical products to go up. The article discusses rule of law gaps in World trade Organization (WTO) law. First, the article provides a brief discussion of the conceptual challenges with the rule of law, in particular when it is applied at international level. Next, it highlights rule of law problems for pharmaceutical producers concerning access to justice and administration of WTO law, and it gives examples of unclear law in the relationship between the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and competition law; between health protection and TRIPS; and between WTO law and human rights.
Keywords: Price of medicine, WTO law, Rule of law, Human rights, Competition, TRIPS
JEL Classification: K33, K21, K10, K30
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