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Oligopolist Speech and the Public Interest in Pharmaceutical Patent Law Reform

Dent, C.ORCID: 0000-0002-1801-713X and Haigh, Y. (2018) Oligopolist Speech and the Public Interest in Pharmaceutical Patent Law Reform. Canadian Journal of Law and Society / Revue Canadienne Droit et Société, 33 (1). pp. 1-20.

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Understandings of the public interest underpin many law reform processes. The public interest is not a fully definable term and so reform bodies have to engage with a range of articulations of that interest. The negotiation of the different articulations, however, has not been explored empirically before. This article reports on a study of the claims to the public interest in a public Australian inquiry into potential abuses of the patent system by pharmaceutical companies. More specifically, submissions to the Pharmaceutical Patents Review are analysed and the results show “oligopolistic” tensions between competing views of the public interest—and with these views claiming primacy over more technical understandings of the issues. This lack of a single “public interest” allows dominant players to frame the debate to reflect their interests; and the tension between these players means that the debate, and the underlying problem, has not been subject to a resolution.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Law
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright: © 2018 Canadian Law and Society Association / Association Canadienne Droit et Société
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