20 Wis. Int'l L.J. 481 (2001-2002)
Trips and the Access to Medicines Campaign

handle is hein.journals/wisint20 and id is 491 raw text is: TRIPS AND THE ACCESS TO MEDICINES CAMPAIGN
SUSAN K. SELL*
If it had not been for the twelve. American-based transnational
corporations of the Intellectual Property Committee (IPC),, there would be
no Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual -Property Rights
(TRIPS) today. Without TRIPS, there would. be no Access to Medicines
campaign? Finally, without the Access to Medicines campaign, there would
be no Doha Declaration on. the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health,. This
paper examines the political strategies of the architects of TRIPS, the effects
of TRIPS, and the activities of the Access campaign.
I will first present a brief account of how TRIPS came about.
TRIPS was a product of tireless and effective agency and economic
coercion. TRIPS fundamentally altered the international intellectual property
regime by dramatically extending property rights globally, and reduced
policy-making autonomy in intellectual property. TRIPS confronted those
who did not participate in the construction of this public international law as
a constraint. Suddenly, practices that had been acceptable before, such as
keeping medicines off patent, became unlawful. The adoption of TRIPS
gradually created a polarized political climate. On the one side are the
architects and beneficiaries of TRIPS seeking to preserve and extend their
gains, and on the other are the victims of TRIPS seeking to minimize or
reverse its damaging effects. Building upon their success, the TRIPS
architects worked hard to further extend property rights and ensure
enforcement of TRIPS. They have embarked on an aggressive course to
close any existing loopholes, to prosecute non-compliance, and to promote
TRIPS-plus intellectual property standards outside the World Trade
Organization in bilateral,4 regional,' and multilateral agreements. Just as the
* Associate Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, the George Washington
University. The author wishes to thank Jacques Gorlin, Ellen 't Hoen, and particularly James
Love for their insights and generosity, and the George Washington University Center for the
Study of Globalization for research support. This article is based in part on her book, Private
Power, Public Law: The Globalization of Intellectual Property Rights (forthcoming, 2003).
Between 1986 and 1996, the IPC's membership has fluctuated from eleven to fourteen members. In
1994, at the outset of the Uruguay Round, the IPC represented the following corporations: Bristol-
Myers Squibb, Digital Equipment Corporation, FMC, General Electric, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Johnson
& Johnson, Merck, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Rockwell International, and Time Warner.
2 The access campaign, as chronicled here, began with the work of the Consumer Project on Technology
and Health Action International. Over time it expanded to include numerous developing countries,
Medecins Sans Frontieres, Oxfam, the Treatment Access Campaign, Health Gap, ACT UP
Philadelphia, and ACT UP Paris among others.
DOHA WTO Ministerial 2001: Trips, Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health
(adopted       Nov.         14,        2001),        WT/MIN(01)/DEC/2,         at
http://www wlo.org/english/thewto elminist-e/minl_ emindec tripse.htm.
4 See, e.g., Agreement Between the United States of America and the Hashemite Kingdom ofJordan on
the Establishment of a Free Trade Area, at http://www.ustr.gov/region/eu-med/middleasttUS-JordanFTA.shtnl.
5 See Free Trade Area of the Americas, Draft Agreement, Ch. on Intellectual Property Rights, FTAA,
TNCAv/133/Rev.1 (July 3,2001), at htpi/www.f ta-a.ortadr e g/ngip-e.doc; see also The North American
Free Trade Agreement, Intellectual Property ch. 7, at http://www.mac.doc.gov/naftatchl7.htm.; Bilateral and

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