The debate over the TRIPS agreement is fascinating in a sense it highlights some serious challenges in the healthcare field. Those challenges are needed to be clearly addressed. The TRIPS aims to regulate the right for intellectual property (IP) by using a patent. Some arguably favor the use of patent in the pharmaceutical market. They back up their preference based on a solid argument
The profit incentive generated from TRIPS will allow the innovation and will support in great part the research and development aspects that are needed to produce new drugs or vaccines for the treatment or the prevention of diseases. So the money generated from the patent`s use allows further investment to acquire new technologies for the production of other drugs. So according to the proponents for the pharmaceutical patent, developing countries accept the TRIPS and pay for a drug the same as it is in the developed countries and they will benefit from that because of the increasingly investment that it would create.
However we have to consider the fact that in the market there is less and less new drugs produced by companies whose objectives are to target diseases that are endemic in developing countries. Because developing countries do not offer a large market. So to refer to the research and development it is predominantly oriented toward diseases in the developed countries. In other way there aren`t new molecules produced for tropical diseases or for malaria which is still endemic in some developing countries. Julie Milstien & Miloud Kaddar in the article “Managing the effect of TRIPS on availability of priority vaccines” have noted: “The Commission on Health Research for Development in 1990 showed that about 10% of funding for health research is allocated to 90% of the world’s health problems” So to speak 90 % of the fund available from the pharmaceutical market are being directed toward diseases encountered in developed countries. So it is clear that the research and development is primarily motivated to the potential return of investment.
It is also argued the high price resulting from the use of the patent in the pharmaceutical industry will allow companies to carry out clinical trial for the production of new drugs. It is quite unethical for a company in a developed country to carry out a clinical trial in a developing country where the population will be unlikely to enjoy the benefit from the study because of the potential high price of the new technology( in our case the drug). We know that clinical trial for several products is conducted in developing countries where the capacity to absorb the new products( drugs) after successful testing is limited. So for the benefit of all it is reasonable to have a kind of compensation for those countries.
Barton, John H “TRIPS And The Global Pharmaceutical Market” Health Affairs ,vol 23
“Basic Survival Needs And Access To Medicines – Coming To Grips With TRIPS: Conversion + Calculation.” Journal Of Law, Medicine & Ethics 38.3 (2010): 520-549. CINAHL. Web. 3 Nov. 2011.
Harold T. Shapiro Sounding Board “Ethical Issues in the Design and Conduct of Clinical Trials in Developing Countries” the New England journal of medicine Google scholar web. 3 November 2011