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The Trans-Pacific Partnership: The Death-Knell of Generic Pharmaceuticals?

As global commerce continues to expand, many states find international trade agreements to be a useful tool to facilitate this continued expansion. Trade agreements permit developing or poorer nations to establish robust, mutually beneficial trade relationships with powerful economies such as the United States. In the face of regional competition from China, several nations bordering the Pacific Ocean, including the United States, have reached a far-reaching trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). This Note will focus on one particular piece of the TPP: the pharmaceutical trade and the international availability of generic medicines. The TPP has the potential to dramatically alter intellectual property laws in the signatory nations and may have a disruptive effect on the availability of generic pharmaceuticals worldwide. This Note analyzes the potential for this problem and proposes an alternative mechanism in which signatory nations are granted automatic licenses for certain medicines they deem essential.

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