Equitable access to medicines and vaccines are key determinants of a country’s resilience to emerging health threats. As the world tries to figure out how to live alongside the SARS-CoV2 virus with the constant threats of emerging variants and new waves, several challenges remain globally for the supply of and access to medicines. For example, the AIDS drugs access crisis, which highlighted the challenges in accessing lifesaving medicines and vaccines. People all over the world are affected by the crisis which is a result of either unavailability or unaffordability.
Book Review Symposia
In his illuminating book ‘Patents, human rights, and access to medicines’, Emmanuel Oke provides a lucid exposition of the intersection between patent law and the human right to health, through an exploration of judicial engagement with this intersection by courts in three developing countries: India, Kenya and South Africa. The book represents a thorough and comprehensive evaluation of a vitally important subject that has not received the kind of sustained scholarly attention that Oke bestows on it. In this post, I shall review chapter 6 of the book, titled ‘India as a case study’.
Oke’s book Patents, Human Rights and Access to Medicines, is a timely and valuable contribution to the literature in this area. Its timeliness is due to the global context of the COVID-19 pandemic since 2019. The discussion of the import of patents to access to medicines, from a human rights lens is a critical endeavour which has been undertaken by several scholars. The seminal Intellectual Property, Human Rights and Access to Medicines-A Selected and Annotated Bibliography, now in its 3rd edition (Velásquez, Correa and Ido, 2020) curates the majority of this literature.
The book discusses the manner in which patent rights adversely affect access to medicines by developing countries and proposes ways to mitigate this. From the author’s point of view, the current international patent rights system as embodied in the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) is too concerned with protecting the interests of innovators at the expense of all other users. In this way, the TRIPS Agreement, by introducing mandatory minimum and stronger standards for the protection of patent rights, has provided an incentive for pharmaceutical companies to charge inflated prices while concentrating their investments mainly towards diseases that affect developed countries. Further, the TRIPS Agreement has diminished the policy space available for developing countries to design patent regimes that are suitable for their developmental and technological needs and circumstances.
The new collection Visions of African Unity edited by Matteo Grilli and Frank Gerits is very welcome. Pan-Africanism and African unity are highly significant in the modern history of the continent, yet have too rarely received the sustained academic attention they deserve. The editors have done well to establish a diverse set of contributors from Africa, Europe and America, with specialisms in history, law, and international relations. The subject is a broad one, and the chapters reflect this. Many of them are highly engaging and informative and will be of value to scholars interested in the particular facets covered as well as in the broader subject
The edited volume Visions of African Unity. New Perspectives on the History of Pan-Africanism and African Unification Projects (palgrave macmillan, 2021) by Frank Gerits and Matteo Grilli (eds), is an ambitious and welcome publication on varying but complimentary aspects of Pan-Africanism in the 20th and 21st centuries. The book´s forte lies not only in its historical approach to the topic at hand but also in the bringing together of current research angles on matters of African unity, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), and the later African Union (AU). Also, the diverse set of contributing authors in terms of geography (Africa, Europe, USA), professional backgrounds, and gender makes this publication a welcome read.
The chapters present a broad lens for understanding how historical conditions have mediated and moderated the business of uniting the peoples of Africa. Issues such as ideological cleavages, trade union politics, interference of external actors in domestic politics, perceptions of civil society and cultural actors on African unification, and transnational institution building in post-colonial Africa are some of points analysed in this book.
This edited volume explores continental and international visions of African unity. Continental integration had many different iterations beyond the OAU and it is therefore approached by contributors not only as a political project, but also as an ideology, a cultural marker and a legal issue. This collection is also a discussion of the place of African unity within the international system, a topic that is underreached despite the archives revealing how officials in the Global North struggled to understand the pan-African and pan-Arab challenges to international relations.
One outstanding feature of this book is that it provides significant historical information on the operations of CMOs in the sample countries and discusses some important cases in CMO management even as it highlights the nexus between the operation of CMOs and the application of competition law to their regulations. The book is to be recommended to students and specialists in the field of law, especially IP and Competition law in Africa and the rest of the developing world. Dr. Oriakhogba in writing this book, has made a valuable contribution to the discourse in this area and laid the foundation for further study of it.
March 22, 2022