Resolving the Public Health Crisis in the Developing World: Problems and Barriers of Access to Essential Medicines

Mercurio, Bryan | January 1, 2007

This article examines the many factors that have created and continue to perpetuate the ongoing health crisis in developing countries. In so doing, the article will reveal that the focus on patent regulation is largely misguided and that the targeting of pharmaceutical companies and TRIPS has lead to an unfortunate divergence from the actual critical issues that affect the delivery of much-needed care and medicines to the developing world. The article then argues that the critical issues lie not in constructing appropriate TRIPS provisions, but more so in providing financial resources to build, maintain and stabilize proper healthcare systems in those developing countries afflicted with public health crises. This article does not fully absolve pharmaceutical companies from blame nor does it claim that TRIPS strikes the appropriate balance between creators and users in every situation, but much has already been written on these two issues. Instead, this article focuses on and examines possible solutions or initiatives that may be adopted to alleviate the current public health problem and assesses their practicability in light of the particular situations and circumstances affecting the developing world.