The WTO Medicines Decision: World Pharmaceutical Trade and the Protection of Public Health

42 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2005

See all articles by Frederick M. Abbott

Frederick M. Abbott

Florida State University - College of Law


On August 30, 2003, the member countries of the WTO adopted the Decision on Implementation of Paragraph 6 of the Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health. This Decision provides flexibility for the export of pharmaceutical products under compulsory license (which flexibility might otherwise have been limited by the terms of the TRIPS Agreement). This article analyzes negotiating strategies used by developing countries to achieve their objectives regarding the Decision at the WTO. The United States is pursuing the negotiation of bilateral and regional trade agreements that restrict the regulatory flexibility of developing (and developed) countries under the WTO TRIPS Agreement, Doha Declaration and Decision. This article considers whether developing countries might adapt strategies used effectively at the WTO to prevent further loss of regulatory flexibility in alternative negotiating fora. The final version of this article was published in the American Journal of International Law.

Keywords: TRIPS Agreement, public health, WTO, pharmaceuticals

JEL Classification: I18, F10, K33, O34

Suggested Citation

Abbott, Frederick M., The WTO Medicines Decision: World Pharmaceutical Trade and the Protection of Public Health. American Journal of International Law, Vol. 99, pp. 317-58, 2005, FSU College of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 164, FSU College of Law, Law and Economics Paper No. 05-19, Available at SSRN:

Frederick M. Abbott (Contact Author)

Florida State University - College of Law ( email )

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