Sreekanth Venkatamaran and Philip Stevens
Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) containing TRIPS-Plus intellectual property provisions have been widely criticised on the grounds they have the potential to raise medicine prices and undermine access to medicines, particularly in developing countries.
This paper assesses the validity of these criticisms by determining if FTAs have had a negative or positive impact on health outcomes.
It shows that contrary to the theoretical literature, FTAs have in fact had modest positive impacts on health outcomes. It also finds a very clear association between trade openness (ratio of trade to GDP) and improved health outcomes, suggesting that FTAs have not historically undermined public health.