Below, you will find the abstract for my second major research paper of the Fall, 2014 semester. This one, I wrote for the class “Information Literacy.” I was pleasantly surprised to earn a 100% on this paper and the other one, too.
I learned many things writing it. International trade agreements and patent law are not my field of expertise. But, our class readings about TRIPS (The Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) piqued my interest. One of the most controversial aspects of TRIPS involves pharmaceutical patents and how they affect the distribution of medicines to the poor and sick in developing nations.
If the abstract below piques your interest, you can now purchase both essays together in a single, 70-page paperback for $6.95 on Amazon. It is called Patents and Public Health: Two Essays on Medicine & Genetics as Intellectual Property. We plan to produce a Kindle version this month.
Patents and Public Health in the Age of TRIPS:
Why the Future Depends on Connecting Patent Offices with Public Health Agencies
Conflicts between public health and the commercial interests of multinational pharmaceutical companies have come to the forefront of TRIPS criticism in light of recent health crises, including viral outbreaks and HIV. Multinational pharmaceutical companies played a significant role in creating TRIPS. They use its provisions to apply for patents in developing nations. The patents give them legal rights to control the supply of that medicine in that country, something public health agencies often confront only after it is too late. Ironically, TRIPS regulations do contain many provisions that developing nations could invoke to protect public health, provisions called flexibilities. However, these flexibilities may never make it into the country’s legislation due to both a lack of resources in developing nations and pressure on patent offices to generate revenue by approving applications. Political pressures coerce nations to create TRIPS-based regulation granting pharmaceutical companies far more control than the nation needs to. In this high-powered, high-pressure global arena of TRIPS legislation, public health agencies desperately need to connect with patent offices to take a more influential role in developing and enforcing TRIPS regulations for their country. Administrative challenges faced by the patent offices also deserve attention, for the resources at the patent office in a developing nation do not equal those of developed nations. Therefore, the future of public health depends on the ability of patent offices around the world to achieve parity with the systems and resources of developed nations, and to connect in meaningful ways with public health agencies to fully evaluate the health implications of TRIPS legislation.
Keywords: Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Doha Declaration, ethics, flexibilities, HIV/AIDS, intellectual property, intellectual property rights, international trade agreement, medicine, multinational pharmaceutical company, patent, patent office, pharmaceuticals, public administration, public health, TRIPS, TRIPS-plus, World Trade Organization.