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A Delicate Balance: the Right to Health Care, IP Rights in Pharmaceuticals and TRIPS Compliance

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Chapter Summary

This chapter argues that moral considerations relating to the right to health care impose obligations on the pharmaceutical companies that cannot be avoided by asserting the necessity to exercise intellectual property rights, maximize profits and recover R&p;D costs. It point outs that this moral obligation requires attention to both negative and positive duties. However, before considering in detail this principal argument based on the relationship between strong IP rights and R&p;D, the chapter briefly re-visits an argument that defends IP rights in pharmaceuticals on the basis of fairness rather than utility. A closer examination of the context in which the so-called 2001 Doha Declaration was realized perhaps reveals a fuller picture of the motivation behind the push for Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) compliance.

Keywords: intellectual property rights; pharmaceutical companies; right to health care; TRIPS compliance



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