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The Illusive Trade-off

The Illusive Trade-off: Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation Systems, and Egypt's Pharmaceutical Industry

  • Book Info
    The Illusive Trade-off
    Book Description:

    The Egyptian pharmaceutical industry serves as a case study for understanding the impact of the global intellectual property regime in this fascinating new addition to the University of Toronto Press Studies in Comparative Political Economy and Public Policy Series.The Illusive Trade-offexamines the Egyptian pharmaceutical industry within a broader context of intellectual property policy making and the multilateral agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs).

    Basma Abdelgafar offers a fascinating discussion of Egypt's role in the trade negotiations that led to the establishment of the World Trade Organization, and makes the case that predominant perspectives on intellectual property rights are based on the false assumption that the innovation process is discrete and segmented. Abdelgafar contends that, in fact, innovation relies upon diffusion, and that inappropriately strong property rights interfere with this process. She uses the case of Egypt's pharmaceutical industry to argue that we must consider relevant aspects of individual countries' systems of innovation as well as public health, if we are to adequately understand the implication of stronger patent protection for the pharmaceutical industries of developing nations.The Illusive Trade-offis an original and important study crossing the disciplines of political science, law, public policy, and public health.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8148-4
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-2)
  6. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    From the mid-1980s to the conclusion of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations in 1994, the governments of the developed countries, led by the United States, were strongly promoting the global harmonization of intellectual property rights (IPRs) against strong opposition from the developing countries. At the heart of the disagreement was a demand for the mandatory extension of patent protection for pharmaceutical products, with potentially serious implications for domestic pharmaceutical industries and health sectors in developing countries. Previously, many countries, including Egypt, had been rather lax in their protection of IPRs for pharmaceuticals in the belief that this was...

  7. 2 Establishing the New Global IPRs Regime
    (pp. 15-33)

    This study was born of an interest in examining the implications of an international agreement about which there continues to be considerable disagreement. This chapter is concerned with exactly how thisagreementcame into existence, and to this end it examines the policy process through which it was created. This discussion is important for several reasons. First, it will help to clarify why developing countries acceded to TRIPS, despite their significant reservations concerning the probable economic and social outcomes for them. Second, it will provide insight into the weight of the various competing objectives that entered into the decision to...

  8. 3 Intellectual Property Theory and TRIPS
    (pp. 34-52)

    This chapter offers an analysis of the theoretical foundation of intellectual property rights, with a focus on patents. A basic intellectual property trade-off exists between innovation and technological diffusion. Striking a balance between the two depends on the specification of numerous parameters in any particular setting. Because of the complexity of this task, analysts often reach conflicting conclusions regarding the optimal strength of patents – that is, the desirable extent of their duration and scope. Even the impact of patents, assuming different levels of protection, is very difficult to determine. Economic studies that have sought to establish the link between stronger...

  9. 4 A National System of Innovation Approach to Understanding the Implications of Stronger Pharmaceutical Patent Protection for Developing Countries
    (pp. 53-83)

    Chapter 3 discussed the core intellectual property trade-off that is commonly assumed to exist between innovation and technological diffusion and established that innovation is far too complex a process to be attributed to any one particular incentive, including patents, as most mainstream intellectual property models imply. This chapter outlines the basis of a national system of innovation (NSI) approach to assessing the implications of stronger patent protection for the pharmaceutical sectors of developing countries. The NSI approach views patents, and IPRs more broadly, as only one element in the complex system of institutions and incentives that shape a country’s technological...

  10. 5 Patent Policy and the Evolution of Egyptian Pharmaceuticals
    (pp. 84-102)

    This case study will seek to assess the implications of TRIPS on Egypt’s pharmaceutical industry, and on its health sector, from the perspective of a national system of innovation.¹ This requires some understanding of key aspects of the evolution of Egypt’s pharmaceutical industry, since that has shaped the context for contemporary responses and outcomes of TRIPS-related patent policy reforms. There are basically five phases that characterize the evolution of Egypt’s pharmaceutical industry as identified by the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research. An examination of each phase shows that Egypt’s domestic industry has undergone quite revolutionary changes as it sought to...

  11. 6 Stronger IPRs and Egypt’s (Bio) Pharmaceutical Innovation System
    (pp. 103-140)

    In this chapter I discuss how in Egypt the pharmaceutical industry was affected by the country’s traditional IP policy, given some of the key pharmaceutical/health aspects of its national system of innovation, from here on referred to as its biopharmaceutical system of innovation. As discussed in chapter 4, the maintenance of a relatively weak IP system had promoted the rapid development of the pharmaceutical sector in industrial countries by enabling them to draw freely on existing knowledge and technologies. It was also emphasized that IP policy represents but one element in a complex system of institutions and incentives that collectively...

  12. 7 Policy Options under TRIPS: Reality or Illusion?
    (pp. 141-178)

    In the preceding chapter conclusions were drawn that suggested a need to broaden economic analysis of the impact of TRIPS on the pharmaceuticals industries of developing countries to include critical pharmaceutical/health aspects of their national systems of innovation. Indeed, the main purpose of this study is to emphasize the importance of understanding the role of historical, social, cultural, and political factors even when attempting to assess the specifically economic implications of that agreement. So far the study has demonstrated that the short-term costs of this agreement for the developing world are clear and substantial, while the long-term gains are ambiguous...

  13. 8 Conclusion
    (pp. 179-186)

    This study examined the implications of the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights for Egypt’s pharmaceutical industry and public health sector using a national system of innovation approach. The study was centred on four main points: (1) there is no robust method of determining the appropriate balance between innovation and technological diffusion, known as the core intellectual property trade-off, without specifying numerous parameters, which tends to subject intellectual property policies to political influence rather than economic calculation; (2) attempts to establish positive and reliable links between strong IPRs and research and development, foreign direct investment, technology transfer, and trade...

  14. Appendix
    (pp. 187-198)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 199-204)
  16. References
    (pp. 205-218)
  17. Index
    (pp. 219-230)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 231-232)