Fostering Production of Pharmaceutical Products in Developing Countries

45 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2021

See all articles by William W. Fisher

William W. Fisher

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Ruth Okediji

Harvard Law School

Padmashree Gehl Sampath

Harvard University-Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society; Department of Social Sciences

Date Written: April 12, 2021

Abstract

Today, most of the pharmaceutical products consumed in developing countries are imported. For many years, some lawmakers, scholars, and activists have argued that firms located in each developing country should produce more of those products locally. This would benefit the residents of those countries both by creating high-paying skilled jobs and by addressing more quickly and reliably the residents’ changing health needs. Skeptics have responded that local production would be less efficient and would impair quality control. Three recent developments have strengthened substantially the case for augmenting local production of pharmaceutical products: the emergence of new infectious diseases that pose unprecedented threats to developing countries; the sudden surge in health-care nationalism, which has undermined the ability of developing countries to rely on imports of drugs and vaccines; and revelation of the prevalence in those countries of falsified and substandard drugs. After reviewing the tangled history of efforts to promote local production, this paper proposes five strategies that would help future initiatives of this sort succeed: (a) a nonobvious combination of substantive and procedural reforms that would ensure that local firms have legal authority to produce the drugs at issue; (b) using the regulatory and purchasing power of the governments of developing countries to catalyze collaborations between established pharmaceutical firms and local licensees; (c) accelerating technology transfer through an international apprenticeship system; (d) ensuring that local-production initiatives employ from the outset some new, robust quality-control technologies; and (e) capitalizing on the economic and political power of regional economic communities in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

Keywords: pharmaceutical products; developing countries; patent law

JEL Classification: F63, I1, I14

Suggested Citation

Fisher, William W. and Okediji, Ruth and Gehl Sampath, Padmashree, Fostering Production of Pharmaceutical Products in Developing Countries (April 12, 2021). Michigan Journal of International Law, Vol. 43, No. 1, 2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3825165

William W. Fisher (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Ruth Okediji

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Padmashree Gehl Sampath

Harvard University-Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02139
United States

Department of Social Sciences ( email )

Fredrik Bajers Vej 7E
Aalborg, DK-9220
Denmark

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
243
Abstract Views
947
rank
157,121
PlumX Metrics