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What a difference a state makes: pharmaceutical innovation after the TRIPs agreement

  • Verena Schüren


For more than a decade, political science scholars have stressed the harmonizing effect of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). Recent implementation practices in developing countries, however, have challenged this view. In this article, I argue that different manifestations of innovation systems can lead to varying patterns of innovation. I substantiate this claim through a comparison between the pharmaceutical sectors of India and Brazil. Drawing on the NSI approach, my analysis reveals that different forms of state engagement have played a decisive role for the varying directions of post-TRIPs pharmaceutical innovation in the two countries. The article illustrates that developing countries can opt for different approaches to innovation even after TRIPs and that the socioeconomic effects of global IP regimes can only be assessed properly when taking into account the country-specific configurations of national innovation systems.


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Center for International Political Economy, Otto Suhr Institute for Politcal Science, Free University Berlin, E-mail:


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