Amending the trips agreement: hegemonic struggle of social forces
AuthorBalkan Şahin, Sevgi
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CitationBalkan Şahin, Sevgi.Amending the trips agreement: hegemonic struggle of social forces .11th Annual International Conference on Politics & International Affairs and Annual International Forum on Policy and Decision Making,11,1-29.
With the Doha Ministerial Declaration on the TRIPs Agreement and Public Health adopted in November 2001, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) was amended to facilitate trade in generic versions of patented medicines. Based on a neo-Gramscian theoretical framework, this paper examines this change in the key provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, which became more socially responsive to health concerns of developing countries. Using the qualitative instruments of discourse analysis and examining hegemonic struggle of opposing social forces, this paper attributes this outcome to the strategy of trasformismo used by market-oriented social forces to legitimize the policies of the WTO and prevent popular political mobilization against the market-driven TRIPS Agreement. It argues that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as Medecins Sans Frontieres worked as a counter-hegemonic force that effectively campaigned for facilitating the legal access of least developed countries to generic drugs. However, flexibilities introduced by the Doha Declaration can be seen more as a strategy of trasformismo used by market-oriented social forces to absorb counter-hegemonic ideas than the counter-hegemonic groups, successful incorporation of the right to protect public health into the TRIPS Agreement.