ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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TRIPS, Product Patents and Pharmaceuticals

Participants in the international debate on patents and pharmaceuticals have begun exploring two distinct sets of TRIPScompliant options/mechanisms that would enable patients in the developing world to access new treatments at affordable costs. The first set relates primarily to 'global' ailments, where R and D is already supported by the north, and includes options such as compulsory licensing, 'tiered' pricing and national drug price regulations. The second set of mechanisms is aimed at 'creating markets' for treatments relating to poor country-specific ailments in a manner that allows affordability without endangering incentives to future research and innovation.

Sustainable Food Production and Consumption

Current methods of food production and consumption are imposing a severe burden on the environment and the constituent natural resources. New production and processing methods driven by biotechnology (genetically modified organisms (GMOs), hormones and other growth promoters) affect food safety. Are alternative more sustainable patterns of food production and consumption feasible? The paper examines some consumer initiatives in Asia and in the UK to examine how the consumer as a 'market force' can proactively influence the food industry, thereby making sustainable practices the norm rather than the exception. It also looks at the significance of empowering women, as consumers, with awareness and education on food safety, nutrition and its dependence on sustainable practices to exert a 'pull' on the market. Finally the paper discusses a multi-pronged approach involving, besides consumer pressure, policy changes, regulatory efforts and economic instruments to steer food production and consumption in a more sustainable direction.
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