Professor Ken Shadlen

Professor Ken Shadlen

Ken Shadlen, Professor of Development Studies in the Department of International Development, will be giving a talk on “The WTO, Pharmaceutical Patents and Development: The North-South Politics of Global Health” at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs on Monday 2nd February.

“While references to a “North-South” divide often seem dated, one area with intense conflict along these lines remains global health, and in particular issues related to pharmaceutical patents. This lecture will shed light on these enduring sources of conflict. It will explain why pharmaceutical patents are the subject of so much conflict, looking in detail at the history of pharmaceutical patenting in developed and developing countries, explaining how rules on patents became integrated into the international trade system with the WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The lecture discusses the politics of TRIPS implementation in developing countries, drawing attention to the important transitional dimensions: while we are no longer living in the pre-TRIPS world of pharmaceuticals not being patented in developing countries, we are not yet living fully in the TRIPS-inspired world of universal pharmaceutical patenting. Given this new global landscape, what are the challenges – immediate and on the horizon – that the TRIPS agreement poses for global health? This question is addressed with reference to the treatment of infectious diseases (e.g. HIV/AIDS), non-infectious chronic diseases (e.g. cancer, hypertension), and “neglected” tropical diseases.”

Find out more here.