TRIPS-Plus Intellectual Property Rules: Impact on Thailand's Public Health
Thailand has proved that a well-funded, politically supported public policy could be effective in preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS on a national scale. It is currently facing increased pressure to accept higher standards of intellectual property (IP) protection (the so-called Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS)-plus) under bilateral free trade agreements (FTA) proposed by the United States. The proposed US FTA threatens to restrict the measures the country can take to pursue affordable drugs, and will affect the ability of Thailand to continue its successful anti-retroviral (ARV) treatment and other healthcare programmes. This article argues that the TRIPS-plus regime generates a negative impact on poor people's access to medicines, and the ARV treatment programme in Thailand is presented as an illustrative example.
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