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P H A R M A C E U T I C A L S :
25 August 2009

A Trade Agreement's Impact 
On Access To
Generic Drugs

The Central America Free Trade Agreement
has kept some generic drugs from
even though they're available in the
United States.

by Ellen R. Shaffer and Joseph E. Brenner



Millions of people lack access to affordable medicines.

The intellectual property rules in the Central

America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) provide pharmaceutical

companies with monopoly protections that allow them to market

some drugs without competition by less costly generics.

We examined availability of certain drugs in Guatemala and found

that CAFTA intellectual property rules reduced access to some generic drugs

already on the market and delayed new entry of other

generics. Some drugs protected from competition in Guatemala will

become open for generic competition in the United States before

generic versions will be legally available in Guatemala.

[Health Affairs 28, no. 5 (2009): w957-w968 (published online 25 August 2009; 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.w957)]

Click here to download CAFTA Article as pdf

Bringing a Public Health Voice to Global Trade and Sustainable Development
Ellen R. Shaffer and Joe Brenner, Co-Directors
P.O. Box 29586, San Francisco, CA 94129
phone 415-922-6204