Question: 1 Do pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to distribute drugs

1. Do pharmaceutical companies have a responsibility to distribute drugs for free or at low cost in developing countries? What are the main arguments for and against such an approach? What are the advantages and disadvantages of giving drugs for free versus offering them at low no-profits prices?
2. What are the principal arguments of pharmaceutical companies that oppose making exception to IPR laws for developing countries? What are the arguments by NGOs and others for relaxing IPR laws?
3. What impact would you expect South Africa’s decision to levy duties on drug imports from Western nations to have on the international distribution of drugs to South Africa?
4. In June 2002, the WTO extended the transition period during which least-developed countries (LDCs) had to provide patent protection for pharmaceuticals. In your opinion, was this an appropriate change in policy or a dangerous precedent? What could be some of the negative ramifications of this resolution? What about the effects for other industries?
5. Given the initiatives announced by global development and aid organizations and among pharmaceutical companies themselves, was it necessary to relax IPR rules in order to ensure that adequate supplies of AIDs medications would be available for distribution in the developing world?
6. What role do MNCs have in providing funding or other assistance to international organizations such as the Global Fund, UN, and WHO?

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