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Human Rights and the WTOThe Case of Patents and Access to Medicines$
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Holger Hestermeyer

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199552177

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199552177.001.0001

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Conflict between Patents and Access to Medicine

Conflict between Patents and Access to Medicine

(p.137) 4 Conflict between Patents and Access to Medicine
Human Rights and the WTO

Holger Hestermeyer

Oxford University Press

This chapter starts by demonstrating in economic terms that pharmaceutical patents result in higher prices in developing countries, thus constituting a barrier to access to medicine in those countries. It shows that this barrier is not justified under human rights law. Neither a human rights protection of inventors, nor the incentive function of patents for encouraging future research can justify patents in the developing world. The chapter then defines the term ‘conflict’ between international regimes and shows that such a conflict exists between the TRIPS Agreement and access to medicine, as an instance of a larger conflict between the WTO Agreements and international human rights law.

Keywords:   pharmaceutical patents, developing countries, human rights, TRIPS Agreement, WTO agreements

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