10 Wake Forest Intell. Prop. L.J. 69
In response to concerns that patent protection for pharmaceuticals negatively affected world health, the World Trade Organization (WTO) issued the Doha Declaration in 2001, allowing member nations to issue compulsory licenses for patented pharmaceuticals during a public health crisis. The terms of this declaration allow countries to determine what constitutes a public health crisis, what terms are appropriate for compulsory licenses, and what medications they should be entitled to produce.
This article argues that the Doha Declaration has not served countries most in need of inexpensive medications: least developed countries with high rates of HIV/AIDS. The terms of the Doha Declaration are too broad, allowing countries to issue compulsory licenses for medications that do not treat life-threatening illnesses, such as Viagra and Plavix. Many countries have seen a dramatic drop in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) as a result of extensive compulsory licensing of patented pharmaceuticals, making least developed countries hesitant to invoke the terms of the Doha Declaration for fear of similar losses in FDI. To safeguard the interests of countries facing severe health crises, the WTO should establish an administrative body to determine when a country may issue compulsory licenses of patented pharmaceuticals.