World Trade Organization
DOI link for World Trade Organization
World Trade Organization book
This chapter outlines several specific ways in which the World Trade Organization (WTO) has, through its actions, inactions, and/or prescriptions, detrimentally affected access to medicines. Hence, it outlines how WTO's myopic actions resulted in trade becoming a barrier to public health, and in turn, to trade itself. The chapter emphasizes that minimizing barriers to access medications and health is lifeline to minimizing barriers to trade. The WTO's agreements distinguish between domestic regulations and market access restrictions. Domestic regulations are internal national regulations. Market access restrictions are customs and other regulations that affect access to the market by third countries, thus acting as trade barriers. While innovation is an important mandate, IP regime's imbalances at the WTO have failed to account for local realities, largely contributing to a crisis in global access to medication. In fact, patent regime has transformed into a barrier to innovation and access to medicine, profoundly impacting the WTO negatively to a point of rendering it irrelevant.