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Texas A&M University School of Law, is launching a new blog and associated website www.TradeRxReport.com, which explores questions of access to affordable medicines and health care that arise at the intersection of intellectual property law and international trade. 

With the increasing impact of the coronavirus on the global economy and our healthcare systems, the importance of issues around the affordability of pharmaceuticals, access to healthcare and medication, and globalization become more apparent each day.  The inter-relationship of health, trade, and intellectual property has been a “hot topic” since the 1980’s, when the World Trade Organization was established and the TRIPS Agreement on intellectual property rights was enacted.  The current global pandemic merely underscores the need to find a workable solution to the challenge of ensuring innovation and access to medicines on a global scale – and the value of a forum focused on that topic.

As Robert B. Ahdieh, dean of Texas A&M School of Law, notes: “At a time when the global nature of the health challenges we face today could not be more clear, TradeRx Report offers a platform to ensure that the very best ideas about access to health and medicines – from academia, industry, and the policy community – are widely disseminated and thoughtfully engaged.”  The hope, as such, is for TradeRxReport.com to become a global forum for the exchange of views on how trade intersects with affordability of pharmaceuticals, access to healthcare and medication from a global, national, and local perspectives.

The value of academic engagement and dialogue with practitioners, industry, and non-governmental organizations has long been part of Texas A&M School of Law Professor Srividhya Ragavan’s work on questions of access to and the affordability of healthcare.  She began working with Doris Long, Professor Emeritus at UIC John Marshall Law School, on issues of trade, intellectual property, and access to medicines in connection with a documentary on the topic.  This important new blog and website are a natural outgrowth of that collaboration for both professors. 

Professor Long, former director of the Center for Intellectual Property, Information & Privacy Law at UIC John Marshall, will serve as moderator of the blog.  She says: “I am thrilled to be serving as the moderator of a blog that I believe provides a necessary forum for an exchange of views between all interested parties – academics, as well as practitioners and industry representatives – as we seek to uncover solutions to the critical issues of healthcare, reasonable access to medicines, trade, and intellectual property in the 21st Century.  I look forward to what I am certain will be informative and exciting debates!”

Noting the timeliness of the blog, Professor Ragavan of Texas A&M School of Law adds that: “[O]ur current trade regime treats efforts to protect public health as a potential barrier to trade.  Covid-19 has brought the converse realization that an ineffective public health system can potentially devastate the entire framework of modern trade.  Dialogue directed to making our system functional from a public health perspective is thus critical.” 

TradeRxReport.com’s focus is a strong fit with Texas A&M School of Law’s existing strength in Intellectual Property, Technology & Innovation, where it is ranked among the top 10 in the United States, and will also have strong synergy with an emerging area of strength in Health Law, Policy & Management. 


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