All Costs, No Benefits

How TRIPS-plus intellectual property rules in the US-Jordan FTA affect access to medicines

Published: 22 March 2007

The USA continues to impose TRIPS-plus rules on developing countries, thus preventing poor people from accessing inexpensive, generic medicines. Jordan was required under the terms of its WTO accession package and its free trade agreement (FTA) with the USA to introduce TRIPS-plus rules. Medicine prices have increased drastically, and TRIPS-plus rules were partly responsible for this increase.

Furthermore, stricter levels of intellectual property protection have conferred few benefits with respect to foreign direct investment, domestic research and development, or accelerating introduction of new, effective medicines. Medicine prices will continue to rise in Jordan, but the country will be unable to use TRIPS safeguards to reduce their cost. Other developing countries implementing or considering FTAs with TRIPS-plus rules should consider the consequences for public health.