University of New Hampshire Law Review


[Excerpt] "Many changes in the past decade, including the TRIPS Agreement and several rulings by the ECJ, have significant implications for the future of trade in the international pharmaceutical industry. However, it is important to emphasize that trade regulation is only one of the many aspects to be considered to gain a full understanding of the nature of the pharmaceutical industry. It is expected that trade regulation will be considered by individual countries within the contexts of their own healthcare systems and their own necessities. Proper patent protection, along with some limitations in such forms as compulsory licensing, parallel imports, and Bolar provisions, will contribute to the shaping of a market in which continued innovation and especially increased access to pharmaceutical products can benefit all nations. This has been the motivation of recent changes in the regulation of patent protection worldwide as a result of the Doha declaration by stating that, “International trade can play a major role in the promotion of economic development and the alleviation of poverty.”19 A potential argument in favor of patent recognition often cited by the multinational pharmaceutical companies is its positive impact on the transfer of technology to the developing world. However, the evidence suggests otherwise. Typically, pharmaceutical plants are dismantled by foreign subsidiaries of multinational companies after the introduction of pharmaceutical patents. In these cases, medicines are brought into the country in finished form and subsidiaries act as distribution centers only. However, even when patent protections are not helpful for technology transfer, they might be helpful for fighting disease when pharmaceutical research is focused on the specific health problems of developing countries, as well as the ones of developed countries. An alternative regulation proposal refers to setting up a legal framework that ensures a system of differential pricing that would guarantee access to drugs under patent to those individuals infected by specific diseases. However, international regulation of trade still demands higher development. Current TRIPS regulation setting specific barriers to parallel trade and to implementing a patent policy should be made consistent with providing incentives for pharmaceutical companies to commercialize drugs for “less profitable diseases.”

Repository Citation

Joan Costa-Font & Aaron Burakoff, An Overview of Progress in the International Regulation of the Pharmaceutical Industry, 1 PIERCE L. REV. 103 (2002). Available at http://scholars.unh.edu/unh_lr/vol1/iss1/10