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Synopsis:Intellectual Property rules governed by TRIPS agreement are still hindering equal access to basic healthcare. Even a crisis like Covid-19 Pandemic could not bring any relief from this regime.
- 快速高效的疫苗接种是实现全球最合适的方式herd immunityagainst the virus.
- However, compliance withTRIPS agreementdeprives developing and least developed countries of their right to access affordable medical products.
- Hence, countries like India and South Africa requested a temporary suspension of rules under the1995年旅行协议。
- But a group of states, the U.S., the European Union, the U.K., and Canada continues to block the waiver requested by India and South Africa in WTO.
- Compliance with the TRIPS agreement will hamper global efforts to eradicate Covid-19 at the earliest.
India and Patent laws
- India adopted the colonial-era laws that allowed for pharmaceutical patents.
- 但1959年，一名委员会被正义主持Rajagopala Ayyangarobjected to this on ethical grounds.
- The committee stated that access to drugs at affordable prices is affected due to patent protection for pharmaceutical drugs.
- It also found that foreign corporations are misusing patent laws to avoid competition and to maintain monopolies. Further, lack of competition has given rise to exorbitant rates charged for essential medical drugs.
- 用这个背景，Patents Act，1970年, was passed. It offeredprotection only over claims to process，它有助于去除药物药物的垄断。
- Further, it alsoallowed for the growth of generic manufacturersin India. As a result, life-saving drugs were made available to people at more affordable prices.
- For instance, drugs that reduce AIDS deaths in developed nations were made non-accessible for the rest of the world due to high costs.
- However, generic versions of these medicines manufactured in India helped to lower the price of AIDS drugs.
What are the arguments in support of protecting Patents?
- A patent is an exclusive right that a state gives to an innovator to make, use and sell an inventive product or process.
- Patent laws are usually justified on three distinct grounds:
- 一个，它是natural and moral rightof the people to claim control over their inventions.
- Two, exclusive licences promote invention and thereforebenefit society as a whole(Utilitarianism)
- Three, individuals should be allowed to benefit from the fruits of their labor and merit
Why the above arguments are refuted?
- First,claim that the removal of patent protection will incur a loss to the company involved in research and development is untrue.
- For instance, public money accounted for more than 97% of the funding towards the development of theOxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
- Second,the idea that patents are the only means available to promote innovation undermines other alternatives to promote innovation. For instance,
- 根据着名经济学家Joseph Stiglitz,奖励资金for medical research can replace the patent system.
TRIPS regimeis an example of inequitable existing world order. There is a need for a global collective action to replace the existing rules that place访问基本医疗保健的权利in danger.