Pharmaceuticals, intellectual property and free-trade: The case of the US-Australia free trade agreement

Peter Drahos*, Buddhima Lokuge, Thomas Alured Faunce, Martyn Goddard, David Henry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Australia did poorly in several key areas of the recently completed free trade agreement with the US. It failed to insulate the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) from significant change, and conceded to increased intellectual property standards. The PBS, as a system of effective bargaining with multinational pharmaceutical firms, has been deeply compromised and higher drug prices can be expected over time. The intellectual property chapter strengthens the position of patent owners and undermines the evolution of a competitive generics industry. These developments are part of a broader and internationally coordinated strategy being pursued by pharmaceutical multinationals to globalize and strengthen patent rights and monopoly profits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)243-257
Number of pages15
JournalPrometheus (United Kingdom)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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