8 Mar 2014    Reports/ Presentations
Burri, Mira

Emulation or coordination? Emerging powers and access to health policies

A paper presentation by Mira Burri and Omar Serrano at the SNIS interdisciplinary workshop 'From Rule-Takers to Rule-Makers: Emerging Powers in the Global Trade System', University of Lucerne, 7-8 March 2014

The legalization of the intellectual property rights (IPRs), which reached its highest form with the adoption of the TRIPS agreement as part of the founding agreements of the World Trade Organization (WTO) was met with widespread resistance by developing countries. The patenting of pharmaceutical products was particularly contentious. Emerging economies like Brazil, India and South Africa took the lead in these efforts. This activism led to several initiatives in different fora, particularly the WIPO, WHO, WTO, and the CBD. The Doha declaration on public health of 2001 was a first step towards ensuring flexibilities in the IP regime towards health policies. This was followed by other significant initiatives such as the 2005 launch of the Development Agenda at WIPO, instigated by Brazil and Argentina. These multilateral efforts have been well documented. Emerging countries undertook in parallel access to health initiatives, which have received less attention but have been as significant as their multilateral efforts in shaping the global health regime. Two among these have been particularly important: the issuing of compulsory licenses on patented pharmaceutical products and the setting of limits to the scope of patentability on the grounds of lacking novelty. The paper focuses on these two initiatives. In doing so it contextualizes them against the backdrop of global IP law and policy and seeks to understand the mechanisms behind the diffusion of these policies paying particular attention to Brazil and India, which have been the key actors in both of these initiatives.   Keywords: Brazil, India, emerging powers, global health regime, compulsory licensing, limits to patents, TRIPS, essential drugs

SNIS project link