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E-DRUG: GATT/TRIPs and pharmaceuticals

E-DRUG  GATT/TRIPs and Pharmaceuticals in middle-income countries
(Joint Research in North Africa)

Many papers have been circulated among e-drug members and elsewhere
about the future impact of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreements
on 1- the pharmaceutical industry in developing country and 
on 2- the access of the population of these countries to essential drugs
at a reasonable price. 
We then would like to share with you some information about a joint
South Europe/North Africa research program on this issue. In this study,
we are interested in the pharmaceutical sector of North African
countries and more particularly in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.
Those countries are living in economic, demographic and epidemiological
transitions. Their economies are under Structural Adjustment Programmes.
The GATT/TRIPs agreements mark the end of the period of growth known by
drugs firms set up in these countries: customs facilities & protection;
fixing of quotas for imported finished goods, implicit clause for the
non-extension of the public sector; negotiation and price control;
dominated local market... The GATT/TRIPs agreements are upsetting the
relative comfortable situation local firms have been enjoying until now.
In the pharmaceutical sector, GATT/TRIPs measures concern two aspects:
- the lifting, in the medium run, of any obstacle to pharmaceutical
goods free trade, excluding any possibility of protecting the local
production in the countries ;
- the application and the reinforcement of patents? system (extension of
their duration, patents of products and patents of process, reinforced
sanctions in case of violation).
Our research  will focus on two main stakes  :
1- An industrial stake (Which consequences will the GATT/TRIPs measures
have on the existence and the future of the local pharmaceutical
industry in North African countries? etc.) ;
2- A health stake: (Which effects on drugs availability, range of
products and prices? etc.).
This research, funded by the UE, will last three years, and is
co-ordinated by International the Children?s Centre (Miloud Kaddar and
Jerôme Dumoulin, economists, Pierre Chirac, public health pharmacist).
The partners involved in this program are prominent experts in the field
of public health/pharmaceuticals at the university and/or the
Our method will combine comprehensive literature review,  data analysis
and field research in the countries. France, Spain and Italy are part of
the field research as their strong relationships with North African
countries put them in the picture as major trade partners.
Please feel free to comment on this project or ask for more information.

Pierre Chirac

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