Case #1736.0

TRIPS Part II: International Trade meets Public Health: TRIPS and Access to Medicines

Publication Date: March 22, 2004
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The Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) was the most comprehensive and far-reaching international agreement on intellectual property rights ever made. Perhaps the most widely discussed TRIPS-related issue was the debate over the impact of the agreement on efforts to improve public health in the developing world. Some developing countries held that TRIPS patent rules prevented them from having access to essential medicines, concerns that were intensified by the dramatic rise in the incidence of HIV/AIDS. Nonprofits such as Doctors without Borders accused drug companies of putting "patents over people." Negotiations ensued at the WTO to address these concerns.

Learning Objective:
This case can be used alone or in conjunction with "TRIPS Part I, International Trade Meets Intellectual Property: The Making of the TRIPS Agreement" (1661.0).

Other Details

Case Author:
Charan Devereaux
Faculty Lead:
Robert Lawrence and Michael Watkins
Pages (incl. exhibits):