WTO Law and Prices of Pharmaceutical Products: Rule of Law Gaps and the Unclear Balance between Trade Protection, Human Rights, and IP Protection

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Price of medicine is subject to discussions from ethical, legal, political, and
economic perspectives. This Article takes a rule of law perspective. Rule of law
gaps in political systems cause legal uncertainties for investors and increase
transaction costs for pharmaceutical producers. That can cause prices of
pharmaceutical products to go up. This Article discusses rule of law gaps in
World Trade Organization (“WTO”) law. First, this Article provides a brief
discussion of the conceptual challenges with the rule of law, in particular when it
is applied at international level. Next, it highlights rule of law problems for
pharmaceutical producers concerning access to justice and administration of
WTO law. This Article gives examples of unclear law in the relationship between
the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (“TRIPS”) and
competition law; between health protection and TRIPS; and between WTO law
and human rights
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe University of the Pacific Law Review
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)451-473
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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