Coalitions and Compliance: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America

ISBN : 9780199593903

Kenneth C. Shadlen
320 Pages
156 x 234 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
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Coalitions and Compliance examines the diverse ways that international changes can reconfigure domestic politics. Since the late 1980s developing countries have come under considerable pressure to revise their intellectual property policies and practices. One area where pressures have been exceptionally controversial is in pharmaceuticals: historically, fearing the costs of providing private property rights over knowledge in this area, developing countries did not grant patents to drugs. Now they must do so. This book analyses different forms of compliance with this new international imperative in Latin America, analysing the politics of pharmaceutical patenting in Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. The book focuses on two periods of patent politics: initial conflicts over how to introduce drug patents, and then subsequent conflicts over how these new patent systems should function. In contrast to explanations of national policy choice based on external pressures, domestic institutions, or the ideological orientation of political leaders, this book attributes cross-national and longitudinal variation in patent policy to the ways that changing social structures affect political leaders' abilities to construct and sustain supportive coalitions. The analysis begins with consideration of the relative resources and capabilities of the transnational and national pharmaceutical sectors, and these rival actors' strategies for attracting allies. Emphasis is placed on two ways that social structures are transformed so as to affect coalition building possibilities: how exporters fearing the loss of preferential market access may be converted into allies of transnational drug firms, and the differential patterns of adjustment among state and societal actors that are inspired by the introduction of new policies. It is within the changing structural conditions produced by these two processes that political leaders build coalitions in support of different forms of compliance.


Part I: Context, Theory, Explanatory Framework
1 Global Change, Political Coalitions, and National Responses
2 The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents

Part II: Introducing Pharmaceutical Patents
3 Power to the Producers: Industrial Legacies, Coalitional Expansion, and Minimalist Compliance in Argentina
4 Not If but How: NAFTA and Extreme Over-Compliance in Mexico
5 Coalitional Clash, Export Mobilization, and Executive Agency: From Reluctant Acquiescence to Enthusiastic Over-Compliance in Brazil

Part III: Modifying New Pharmaceutical Patent Systems
6 The Defensive Coalition on the Offensive: National Industry and Argentina's Market-Preserving Patent System
7 What's Good for Us is Good for You: The Transnational Pharmaceutical Sector and Mexico's Internationalist Patent System
8 Patent Policy in the Shadows of Over-Compliance: Neo-Developmentalism in Brazil

Part IV: Conclusion
9 Patents and Development in the New Global Economy
Fieldwork Appendix

About the author: 

Ken Shadlen is Professor of Development Studies in the Department of International Development, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His previous books include The Political Economy of Hemispheric Integration (co-edted with Diego Sanchez-Ancochea, Palgrave, 2008), The Politics of Intellectual Property (co-edited with Sebastian Haunss, Edward Elgar, 2009), and Democratization Without Representation (Penn State University, 2004).

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