Intellectual Property, Pharmaceuticals and Public Health

Intellectual Property, Pharmaceuticals and Public Health

Access to Drugs in Developing Countries

Edited by Kenneth C. Shadlen, Samira Guennif, Alenka Guzmán and N. Lalitha

This up-to-date book examines pharmaceutical development, access to medicines, and the protection of public health in the context of two fundamental changes that the global political economy has undergone since the 1970s, the globalization of trade and production and the increased harmonization of national regulations on intellectual property rights.

Chapter 5: The Challenges of Constructing Pharmaceutical Capabilities and Promoting Access to Medicines in Mexico under TRIPS

Alenka Guzmán

Subjects: development studies, development economics, law and development, economics and finance, development economics, health policy and economics, political economy, law - academic, intellectual property law, law and development, politics and public policy, political economy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


Alenka Guzmán According to Pavitt’s taxonomy (1984), the pharmaceutical sector has been classified as an intensively scientific industry, where technology depends basically on the basic sciences of R&D. The pharmaceutical firms maintain their leadership by using intellectual property rights (IPR – patents, industrial secrets and trademarks). Patent systems in particular are of great importance to the pharmaceuticals industry, given the permanent risk of copying through the use of low-cost processes. In this section, we explain the analytical framework of the pharmaceutical industry whereby the health system and the intellectual property system are seen jointly, through both a national (Bell and Pavitt, 1993; Lundvall, 1993; Nelson, 1993; Kim, 1997) and a sectoral innovation approach (Edquist, 1997; Breschi and Malerba, 1997; Malerba, 2002, 2004). Both the factors of demand1 and supply2 that contribute to innovations in the pharmaceutical sector refer to the elements that make up the national innovation systems and the sectoral innovation systems (NIS and SIS, respectively).3 1 The demand side includes the size and evolution of the market (Schmookler, 1966), which are influenced by economic factors and socio-economic factors and affected by government policies, price capping, health expenditure budget and preventive health programs (Agrawal, 2000: 24). 2 The determining factors influencing the supply are identified as the costs, alongside the productivity of the research and development (R&D) sector linked to the technological opportunities (Mowery and Rosemberg, 1989). 3 The government, through macro-economic policies, promotes foreign financing, and through fiscal policies, regulatory and IP policies establishes the...

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