Research Handbook on Global Health Law
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Research Handbook on Global Health Law

Edited by Gian Luca Burci and Brigit Toebes

The effect of Globalization on health has attracted the attention of scholars and policy makers across multiple disciplines. A key concern is the regulation of international health protection, and in particular the use of international health instruments and the complex interaction between international law and health considerations. For the first time, a group of law and policy scholars have analysed these issues, drawing on knowledge from their respective fields. The resulting book provides comprehensive coverage of contemporary issues in global health law and governance.
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Chapter 6: Health and intellectual property rights

Frederick M. Abbott


Intellectual property rights (IPRs) play an important and controversial role in respect to the protection and promotion of human health. On one hand, certain forms of IP, most specifically the “patent” and regulatory data exclusivity, are intended to stimulate investment in innovation and the introduction of new and improved therapeutic products. On the other hand, those same IP protections may reward their owners with exclusive rights that may significantly restrict access to the products. The tension produces stress on public policy makers that must determine the appropriate balance for encouraging innovation while providing necessary access. This chapter describes the complex web of international IP-related rules that are relevant to health products, and reflects on areas of continuing controversy regarding the characteristics of those rules and their enforcement.

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