chapter  5
41 Pages

The HIV/AIDS Crisis: The Rise of the Access Norm

This conclusion presents some closing thoughts on key concepts covered in the preceding chapters of this book. The book describes an on-going conflict in global politics around the issue of international intellectual property rights. The pharmaceutical industry and a number of high-income country governments fought hard to keep the use of TRIPS flexibilities as limited as possible, the industry publicly recognized the legitimacy of the Ecuadorean government's compulsory license announcement. The discursive interfaces opened up new spaces for health concerns within the traditionally state-bound trade negotiations on intellectual property rights. No conscious political decision to privilege informal norm-building over the formal codification of the right to universal access to essential medicines and of the necessary regulatory statutes. Patent-holding companies still stand to gain from stringent IP protection. There was no need to wait for changes in formal norms to mobilize record amounts of money and political attention for access to HIV drugs.