The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated economies and public health systems across the globe, increasing the anticipation for the creation of an effective vaccine. With this comes the reinforcement of debates between the right to health and pharmaceutical patent rights. The purpose of this study is to illustrate how the Philippines could attempt to balance the right to health with pharmaceutical patent rights in the introduction of a potential COVID-19 vaccine into the country.
This will be accomplished through an examination of the flexibilities allowed by international agreements and domestic patent laws.
With the economic and health challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Philippine Government will have a strong justification to pursue parallel importation and compulsory licencing under the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights. This is exacerbated by the bold leadership of President Duterte, whose administration has so far shown a propensity to decide in favor of the right to health at the expense of other rights in dealing with the pandemic.
While this paper focuses on the Philippines, it has a potential application in the least developed and developing countries which aim to gain access to a prospective COVID-19 vaccine. Moreover, while this study discusses the harmonization of laws on the right to health and patent laws as a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of access to vaccines, it also calls for solutions that go beyond the application of the law.
Cerilles Jr, M.C. and Fernan, H.G.O.M. (2021), "Analysing the interplay between the right to health and pharmaceutical patent rights in the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine into the Philippines", International Journal of Human Rights in Healthcare, Vol. 14 No. 3, pp. 240-254. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJHRH-09-2020-0075
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