TRIPS and Developing Countries

TRIPS and Developing Countries

Towards a New IP World Order?

Edited by Gustavo Ghidini, Rudolph J.R. Peritz and Marco Ricolfi

TRIPS reflects the dominant view that enforcing strong intellectual property rights is necessary to solve problems of trade and development. The global ensemble of authors in this collection ask, how can TRIPS mature further into an institution that supports a view of economic development which incorporates the human rights ethic already at work in the multilateralist geopolitics driving international relations? In particular, how can these human rights, seen as encompassing a whole ‘new’ set of collective interests such as public health, environment, and nutrition, provide a pragmatic ethic for shaping development policy? Some chapters address these questions by describing recent successes, while others propose projects in which these human rights can provide ethical ground for influencing the forces at play in development policies.

Chapter 1: When framing meets law: Using human rights as a practical instrument to facilitate access to medicines in developing countries

Duncan Matthews

Subjects: development studies, law and development, law - academic, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, law and development


Over the past decade, the debate about the relationship between access to medicines and human rights has, to a large extent, come to define the politics of intellectual property (IP). This chapter describes how Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) seeking to draw attention to the potentially adverse effects of patents for pharmaceutical products for public health, particularly for people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune-Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS), not only reshaped the international debate about the relationship between IP rights and access to medicines by framing it as a human rights issue, but have also utilised the concrete human rights principles enshrined in national constitutional law as a practical tool in their campaigns, often to far-reaching effect.

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