Having attended two-thirds of the WTO’s ministerial conferences, I have been reflecting on why they have failed. In most cases it comes down to an abuse of process and bullying by more powerful Members, sometimes with collusion from the chair and the secretariat, leaving developing countries with two choices: capitulation or denial of consensus.
The ongoing pandemic has not only changed our social relationships, it has brought a giant change in the University teaching pedagogy too. Face-to-face classroom teaching has been replaced by virtual mode of teaching. These online class-rooms have become the closest equivalent to the physical class-rooms now. Though, many popular online learning platforms existed even prior to the pandemic, the widespread use of virtual platforms have started only since the lockdown. The following is a combined account of our experiences while dealing with online classes.
Amaka Vanni already proffered answers to the foregoing nagging questions, and more, albeit within the broad conversation around pharmaceutical patent and access to essential medicines and health technology in the Global South. She undertook this task in her well-researched and exceptionally captivating monograph: Patent Games in the Global South: Pharmaceutical Patent Law Making in Brazil, India and Nigeria (Hart Publishing 2020). In the book, structured into 7 strong chapters, she critically unpacks, engages and beautifully links the role of states and non-states actors in international patent law-making with the realities of patent legislation and policy formulation, as well as pharmaceutical innovation and R&D in Brazil, India and Nigeria.
This chapter, like much of the book, is exceptionally well researched, and brings seemingly unconnected developments neatly within the overarching narrative mentioned above. The author’s focus on how international law affects the ‘mundane’ everyday life, and vice versa, allows (or perhaps requires) her to examine much more than just the oft over-discussed ‘hot topics’ (i.e., compulsory licenses and patentability criteria) of the Indian pharma-patent landscape.
In light of the current global health crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic and the attendant discussions on the importance of pharmaceutical patents to our daily existence, the analyses in this book (and the symposium) performs an important function in documenting the role of different sets of actors and their influences on the domestic implementation of global patent rules, access to medicines, and how these (in)actions led us to where we are today.