This paper will explore the impact of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS)on pharmaceutical prices. It will also examine the effects on the pharmaceutical industry, using India as a case study. TRIPS is a recently enacted portion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

In the 1990’s world of international trade, the rhetoric is about a global village, removing barriers of trade, and giving less developed countries greater access to the rewards of modern technology. In reality, the machinery to create such a world, the various international agreements and treaties, are designed by groups with vested interest in maximizing profits for Multinational Corporations (MNCs). The ethical hypocrisy drafted into these agreements and treaties is morally and humanely repugnant. By strengthening intellectual property protection, the agreements implicitly adopt a policy in favor of denying basic health and pharmaceutical products to the poorest citizens of many countries. This is a direct result of the authority the agreements grant MNCs to demand extremely high prices and patent royalties that are beyond the reach of consumers in both developed and developing countries. This need not be the case. There are ways in which healthcare can be more equally provided to all citizens of the globe while ensuring that MNCs are compensated for their efforts in R&D, the power base of governing bodies is not threatened, and incentives for more R&D are maintained.

This paper is a political-economic analysis which includes research from original international surveys, global conferences, position papers of groups working in the area of intellectual property and health, and an analysis of the text of the TRIPS Agreement to support both the premise of the argument and the suggested changes.


International Business