Sur – Human Rights University Network and ABIA – Associação Brasileira Interdisciplinar de Aids (Brazilian AIDS Interdisciplinary Association) welcome contributions to be published in a Special Issue of Sur – International Journal on Human Rights on Intellectual Property and access to medicine (n. 8, first Semester 2008).

The Sur Journal is published twice a year, distributed free of charge to approximately 2,700 readers in over 100 countries. It is edited in three languages: English, Portuguese and Spanish and can also be accessed online.

The Journal aims at disseminating a Global Southern perspective on human rights and to facilitate exchange among professors and activists from the Global South without disregarding contributions from other regions.

For our next issue – No. 8 –, we will prioritize articles which, preferentially but not exclusively, address the following topics related to the debate of intellectual property and access to medicine:

  • Alternative models to stimulate innovation: In 1994when the WTO – World Trade Organizationwas createdand many multilateral treaties were adopted, including the TRIPS agreement ( Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights), a new safeguard system of intellectual property rights was established. The TRIPS Agreement, for instance, was adopted to promote technological innovation. However, 10 years after its adoption, doubts have been raised concerning the promotion of real innovation. Despite the fact that the number of patents has increased in the last years, many of the granted patents do not represent true technological innovation, being just small adaptations of previous technologies. Besides, access to medicine is still a problem, mainly in developing countries. In this sense, the discussion on those alternative models for the promotion of Research and Development (R & D) on health is absolutely essential.
  • The impact of Intellectual Property on medicines for neglected diseases: One of the main and the cruelest consequences of intellectual property regulation today is the almost complete lack of investments on research and development for the treatment of diseases such as malaria, chagas’ disease, leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis. These diseases, known as “neglected diseases”, affect to a great extend poor people who live in developing countries. They are, therefore, not a concern to the pharmaceutical industry, as this industry is mainly worried about developing medicines which already have an established market in rich countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 530 million people all over the world are affected by those diseases. Yet, there are few papers written on the issue and there are few initiatives to revert the situation.
  • Implications of the adoption of compulsory licenses: The safeguard system of intellectual property rights settled by the TRIPS Agreement foresees some flexibilities that could be used by countries as a way to shorten the adverse effects caused by the adoption of new rules and, also, as a way to restrain eventual abusive practices which these rights many times entitle. The restraint of abusive practices is especially important when it involves the protection of public health. In this vein, compulsory licenses are one of the flexibilities clearly established by the TRIPS Agreement, representing a temporary restriction to exclusive rights. The importance of a compulsory license and the legitimacy of its use for the protection of public health are already affirmed in many occasions by WTO members and by multilateral organisms. However, the grant of a compulsory license is still faced by many as a violation to intellectual property rights. The recent use of this instrument by developing countries such as Thailand and Brazil has again raised the debate, especially in relation to the restriction of measures adopted by transnational pharmaceutical companies and by governments as well. So forth, an analysis of the compulsory license implications is indispensable.
  • Best practices on guaranteeing access to medicine: Access to a good-quality health treatment is essential for a healthful life. However, few people in the world have financial resources to pay for such a treatment. Illustratively, for people living with HIV/AIDS, access to medicine is the difference between life and death. As a way to demand States to act in accordance with their obligations, civil society organizations have developed different models of social action, stimulating public policies on the access to medicine. Sharing these best practices is a way of promoting the access to medicine all over the world.
  • The Judiciary role in the promotion of access to medicine: Some initiatives have already been taken for the judicialization of economic, social and cultural rights. In this sense, we hope to receive contributions on role of the Judiciary in the implementation of the human right to health, or more specifically, in the implementation of the human right to access basic medicine.

As aforementioned, these themes are not exclusive, but only preferential. Sur Journal issue No. 8 will also include some articles dealing with general human rights topics.


Contributions should be sent in electronic form (MS Word format) and should follow these guidelines:

  • Between 7,000 and 10,000 words.
  • Concise and objective footnotes. (Please find at the end of this text the rules for citation.)
  • Short biography of author with a maximum of 50 words.
  • Abstract with no more than 150 words, including keywords for the required bibliographical classification.
  • Date when the paper was written.

Only submissions received by 3 December 2007 will be considered for issue No. 8. Articles received after that date will be considered for subsequent issues.

Ideally articles should be original and unpublished. Exceptionally, however, relevant contributions already published elsewhere may be accepted, provided that the required authorizations are granted. Please inform if, where and when the paper has been published before.

Contributions will be evaluated by at least two members of the Editorial or the Consultative Board of the Sur Journal and, whenever necessary, also by external specialists. For this special issue, contributions will also be evaluated by a member of the ABIA. Any suggested changes will be submitted to the authors and published only with their explicit authorization.

As the Journal is distributed free of charge, we are unfortunately unable to remunerate our contributors.