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The impact of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on the right to health and the right to development: a study of the implementation of TRIPS in Zimbabwe.

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The right to health and the right to development are intertwined socio-economic rights that affect the well being and growth of a country’s populace. Most developing and least developed countries face challenges in ensuring access to essential medicines vis a vis the realisation of the right to health and full potential of development. Patents, provided for under the TRIPS Agreement are partly to blame for the lack of access to essential medicines as they account for the excessive pricing of medicines. Zimbabwe being a developing country currently facing dire economic and political challenges but being obliged under the International and Regional Human Rights Conventions it subscribed to, has to ensure the progressive realisation of the right to health and development. However, as a member of the TRIPS Agreement, there are limitations to the country’s ability to ensure access to medicines and healthcare for developmental purposes. This thesis has outlined the problematic provisions of the TRIPS Agreement and Zimbabwe’s attempt to use the flexibilities provided to its advantage. Zimbabwe has only put into use the flexibility of compulsory licensing and parallel importation to a limited extent; hence the recommendation that even though the country has domesticated the Agreement to its advantage, the country needs to explore other flexibilities comprehensively and promote the realisation of the rights to health and development.


Masters degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.