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Trading of pharma goods has attracted widespread global attention in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Agreement on Trade in Pharmaceutical Products (“Pharma Agreement”) – a sectoral agreement between a handful of WTO members – was concluded in 1994 and aimed to eliminate duties on various pharmaceutical products. Nevertheless, this is all that the Pharma Agreement does: it eliminates duties and does not touch upon the regulatory aspects relating to marketing of pharmaceutical goods. WTO members remain sovereign to decide on this score, but must observe the WTO Licensing Agreement as well as nondiscrimination. Thus, while the intensity of regulatory intervention is a function of a WTO member’s risk aversion, members still have to ensure that their intervention does not counteract the assumed obligation aiming, roughly, to address protectionism.


Intellectual Property Law | International Trade Law | Law


Reprinted with permission by the Vanderbilt Law Review En Banc.