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  • Access to Essential Medicines in Developing Countries: The Role of International Intellectual Property Law & Policy in the Access Crisis

    Effective changes to intellectual property law and policy are necessary in order to adapt to the fast-paced nature and highspeed travel of the twenty-first century and ensure global access to essential medicines, thereby promoting and safeguarding global public health. Specifically, developed countries must be encouraged to use the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) compulsory licensing scheme and adopt national legislation to incentivize innovation and production of affordable essential medicines for developing countries. Poor health in developing countries results in suffering and fatalities within the borders of those countries. Additionally, poor health in developing countries causes broad-reaching effects in the global community, to which developed countries are not immune. Bacteria and infectious disease are not restricted by state or national borders and thus, the health crisis of one country can quickly become the health crisis of another country. This Article discusses the impact of infectious disease on the health, economy, and national security of developed countries, primarily focusing on the effects of the tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS pandemics on the United States as a model. Access to immunizations and essential medicines is a critical factor in maintaining global public health and protecting the economy and national security of developing and developed countries. Thus, this Article proposes critical changes to international intellectual property law and policy in order to ensure access to essential medicines that would promote and safeguard global public health.