Health Before Patents: Challenging the Primacy of Intellectual Property Rights

  • Klaus Dieter Wolf
  • Saskia Scholz
Part of the Global Issues book series (GLOISS)


This chapter examines the conflict between international patent protection and the right to health. A successful campaign was waged by emerging nations and their civil society allies against the rules governing the protection of intellectual property as defined by the 1994 Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). Following this confrontation, a change of the TRIPS regime was agreed at the World Trade Organization’s 2001 Ministerial Conference in Doha. Since then, world trade rules have accorded the right to health precedence over the right to intellectual property. The human immunodeficiency virus crisis, the mobilising potential of non-governmental organisations, and rising powers such as India and Brazil as well as a new normative discourse, not least in the West, contributed to this change in global health politics.


World Trade Organization Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome Patent Protection Intellectual Property Right Essential Medicine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Peace Research Institute Frankfurt (PRIF)Frankfurt am MainGermany
  2. 2.Frankfurt School – UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy FinanceFrankfurt am MainGermany

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