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Enabling TRIPs : The pharma-biotech-university patent coalition.

Tyfield, David (2008) Enabling TRIPs : The pharma-biotech-university patent coalition. Review of International Political Economy, 15 (4). pp. 535-566. ISSN 0969-2290

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Abstract

The dominant player behind the Trade-Related Intellectual Property (TRIPs) agreement, as regards patents, was a handful of American pharmaceutical transnational corporations ('big pharma'). Given that TRIPs was exceptionally controversial, how was US big pharma uniquely enabled to command the entire trade diplomatic machinery of the US and, through that, enact global law in its favour? This paper explores one crucial factor in the enacting of TRIPs, namely the prior pursuit of domestic US patent reform, from which a highly integrated and powerful single-issue political coalition between US big pharma, the new biotechnology sector and academic life science departments was formed. This created the political context in the US in which patent issues, particularly those affecting the pharmaceuticals industry, came to be considered matters of state. But explaining both the success of this patent coalition and the subsequent success of the US-led international demands for TRIPs in turn demands appeal to analysis of the structure of the global economy and its transformation to one of neoliberal financialisation, from a watershed of 1980. The paper explores how the critical histories of each of the three sectors of the patent coalition are illuminated by analysis in the context of this structural change and the underlying connections between apparently disparate issues it reveals.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Review of International Political Economy
Uncontrolled Keywords: TRIPs ; patents ; bioscience ; knowledge economy ; primitive accumulation ; financialization
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
ID Code: 40875
Deposited By: Mr Richard Ingham
Deposited On: 15 Jun 2011 11:15
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 07 Aug 2012 15:10
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/40875

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