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Balance between TRIPs and public health

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  1. Introduction
  2. The legal breakthroughs: from TRIPs to TRIPs-Minus
    1. A strict application of the TRIPs agreement before 2001
    2. The Declaration of Doha on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health of November 14, 2001: the translation of a ?TRIPs-Minus? vision
    3. The declaration of Doha of August 30, 2003: the reinforcement of the ?TRIPs-Minus? vision
  3. Mitigated practical results and perspective
    1. Existing significant positive aspects
    2. The finding of important adverse elements
    3. The expropriation as perspective?

Malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS and other serious diseases affect millions of people around the world. However, for well-known reasons, some parts of the globe are more prone to them. The figures speak for themselves. Every thirty seconds, an African child dies of malaria and thirty million out of the forty million people infected by AIDS are located in Africa . Each day, 5500 people die of AIDS because they had no access to any preventive measures and treatment of this illness . The combat against those diseases constitutes a global concern which is defined as the 6th millennium goal of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

On the other hand stand the pharmaceutical firms which detain the drug solution but intend to protect their intellectual property rights. Their position is also legitimate. The tremendous investments by the pharmaceutical industry devoted to research and development are not to be disregarded. Here again, figures are expressive. In 2009, their total amount was estimated between 40 and 45 billion dollars per year . The most striking is the fact that this figure only comprises the amount of investments done by the ten most important pharmaceutical corporations. Private funds constitute the essential part of those risky investments. This number increases each year but the number of new molecules stays stable. This illustrates the importance of patents for those essential corporations. According to research and development directors of pharmaceutical firms, if patents would not have existed, they would have renounced investments for innovations 4 times more than their counterparts in other industries . Patents guarantee a monopoly of exploitation and a certain financial security necessary to encourage the taking of risks. Profits resulting from innovations serve the investment on molecules of tomorrow .

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