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The WTO–TRIPS Flexibilities on Public Health: A Critical Appraisal of the East African Community Regional Framework


Over the years, many developing countries have attempted to make policies utilizing the WTO–TRIPS flexibilities to address the public health needs of their populations. A common strategic trend in these policies has been the tendency to attempt to increase access to medicines through price reduction, achieved by weakening patent protection. This paper, using the policy that has recently been adopted by the East African Community (EAC) member states as a case study, demonstrates the inappropriateness of this strategy. The core argument is that weakening patent protection will hinder further research and invention, which are necessary to ensure the availability of medicines. For developing countries, especially those in Africa, such as the EAC member states, the problem is aggravated by the fact that pharmaceuticals, due to commercial considerations, have already ignored investing in developing medicines for diseases predominant in these countries, hence the need to strengthen rather than weaken, patent protection.

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World Trade Review
  • ISSN: 1474-7456
  • EISSN: 1475-3138
  • URL: /core/journals/world-trade-review
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