Jacopo Natali

Can Public-health-oriented Local Manufacturing Requirements for Stimulating the Domestic Production of Medicines be GATT-compliant? Insights from the Turkey – Pharmaceutical Products Case

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On July 25th, 2022, a WTO Arbitral Tribunal confirmed the Panel’s decision in Turkey – Pharmaceutical Products that certain Turkish measures requiring foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers to localise their production in Turkey were GATT-inconsistent. Turkey’s public health defence under GATT Article XX(b) was dismissed by the Panel on the grounds that Turkey did not provide sufficient elements to demonstrate a genuine relationship between its measures and the public health objective pursued. The decision provides some food for thought on the long-standing issue of the relationship between WTO law and public health concerns, and the extent to which the human right to health under Article 12 ICESCR may be relevant within the WTO Dispute Settlement System. The present contribution aims at assessing whether local manufacturing requirements to boost the local pharmaceutical industry in order to ensure access to medicines can be GATT-compliant, and the possibility to justify such measures with reference to human rights obligations within the WTO Dispute Settlement System.


  • World Trade Organization
  • right to health
  • local content requirements
  • GATT
  • access to medicines


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