Multinational drug corporations, intellectual property rights and the Canadian state : a historical and critical analysis
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This study critically analyzes the historical role and influence of multinational drug cotpOrations and multinational corporations in general; the u.s. government and the Canadian state in negotiating the global recognition ofIntellectual Property Rights (IPR) under GATT/NAFTA. This process began in 1969 when the Liberal government, in response to high prices for brand-name drugs amended the Patent Act to introduce compulsory licensing by reducing monopoly protection from 20 to seven years. Although the financial position ofthe multinational drug industry was not affected, it campaigned vigorously to change the 1969 legislation. In 1987, the Patent Act was amended to extend protection to 10 years as a condition for free trade talks with the u.s. Nonetheless, the drug industry was not satisfied and accused Canada of providing a bad example to other nations. Therefore, it continued to campaign for global recognition ofIPR laws under GATT. Following the conclusion of the GATTI Trade-Related aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement (TRIPS) in 1991, the multinational drug industry and the American government, to the surprise of many, were still not satisfied and sought to implement harsher conditions under NAFTA. The Progressive Conservative government readily agreed without any objections or consideration for the social consequences. As a result, Bill C-91 was introduced. It abandoned compulsory licenses and was made retroactive from December 21, 1991. It is the contention of this thesis that the economic survival of multinational corporations on a global scale depends on the role and functions of the modem state. Similarly, the existence of the state depends on the ideological-political and socioeconomic assistance it gives to multinational corporations on a national and international scale. This dialectical relation of the state and multinational corporations is explored in our theoretical and historical analysis of their role in public policy.