Monday, March 2, 2015

Pharmaceutical Monopolies under TRIPS-Plus

Is Competition Law the Solution?
By Ashley Dougherty
Ashley Dougherty graduated in December 2014 with a joint-degree (JD/MBA) from Albany Law School and Union Graduate College.  During law school, Ashley worked for General Electric, ACE Group, the Honorable Judge Kahn at the Northern District of New York, and has worked aboard in Tokyo for the international maritime firm TODA & Co. Prior to attending law school, Ashley graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Political Science.
While at Albany Law, she was a competitor on the law school’s travel team for the Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition, an editor for the International Law Studies Blog, and served as the president of the International Law Society.
Ashley is currently working at the NY State Assembly Minority Office as Associate Counsel on the Corporations, Energy, Transportation, and Economic Development committees.
This paper was prepared for Professor Halewood’s International Trade Law class

Developed countries pursue excessive intellectual property regulations when negotiating trade agreements. These so-called TRIPS-Plus provisions can create advantageous monopolistic forums for pharmaceutical companies that are unfair for developing countries.

One of the most recent examples of this is the U.S. and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  There is a surplus of intellectual property provisions agreed upon in the TPP which promote unfair trade practices. These include data exclusivity provisions, prohibitions against parallel importation, decreased reasonableness of seizure of shipments which causes unreasonable delays, “evergreening,” and patent term extensions. Such provisions deter countries from accessing essential medicine, particularly HIV/AIDs treatments, which are crucial to many southern Asian countries.

Those provisions also decrease competition in the pharmaceutical industry by inhibiting countries with emerging pharmaceutical industries from entering the market. This directly hurts consumers because it causes prices to rise, delays the entry of generic brands into the industry, and hinders ease of access to essential medicines.

This paper looks at what can be done to solve these problems. Specifically, the paper looks to the plausibility of creating global antitrust laws, either internationally or within the trade agreement, to combat the unfair trade practices caused by the TRIPS-Plus provisions.
To read the paper, open HERE.