Access to medicine is a topic of widespread interest. However, some issues that impact such access are presently inadequately understood. In particular, international laws require most nations to provide patents on drugs, resulting in premium prices that limit access. In Access to Medicine in the Global Economy, Professor Cynthia Ho explains such laws and their impact for a diverse group of readers, from scholars and policy makers to students in a variety of disciplines. This book explains and interprets important international agreements, beginning with the landmark Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), but also including more recent free trade agreements and the pending Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Professor Ho addresses controversial topics, such as when a nation can provide a compulsory license, as well as whether a nation may suspend in-transit generic goods. The book also discusses how patent-like rights (such as "data exclusivity") prevent lower-cost generic medicines from entering into the marketplace and provides strategies for minimizing the harm of such rights.
Clear explanations and diagrams, frequently asked questions, and case studies make these topics accessible to any reader. The case studies also provide a theory of patent perspectives that helps explain why access to medicine, though a universal goal, remains elusive in practice. The book aims to provide an important first step toward eventual workable solutions by promoting a better understanding of existing and future laws that impact access to medicine.