WHO, WTO, and Access to Medicines

Friday, October 2, 2015 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

Although the relationship between the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) could be described as one of isolation and, at times, competition, WHO and WTO have recently moved to a strategy of coordination regarding access to medicines and medical technology. This presentation charts this transition, assesses its origins, and evaluates its impact. It argues that competition and collaboration between the WTO and the WHO, conceptualized as specialized institutions with two distinct expert domains, is an important, yet understudied, mechanism that has shaped the development of international norms around intellectual property protection of essential medicines.

Laura Pedraza-Fariña's scholarship on intellectual property law uses the methodology of history and sociology of science and technology to analyze and inform the design of patent law. She is an Assistant Professor of Law and a faculty affiliate of the Science in Human Culture Program at Northwestern. Her research interests include intellectual property, patent law, and international organizations. Current projects include an analysis of the implications of sociological studies on tacit scientific knowledge for the disclosure theory of patent law, and a study of how the specialized court structure of patent law influences the content of patent decisions. Pedraza-Fariña received her J.D. from Harvard Law School and her Ph.D. in genetics from Yale University. 

Organized by: Buffett Institue as part of the Faculty & Fellows Colloquium Series.

Link to Event