International Investment Law and Global Health: Issues and Implications in Philip Morris v. Uruguay

April 4, 2011Duke Law News

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
12:30 - 1:25 pm
Room 3043 | Duke Law School


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Featuring Todd Weiler
Adjunct Professor, University of Western Ontario Faculty of Law

Philip Morris Products has filed suit against Uruguay at the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes at the Word Bank. Philip Morris claims that Uruguayan tobacco control laws violate its investor rights under a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between Uruguay and Switzerland. At issue are Uruguayan requirements that 80% of a cigarette package show health warnings and another law limiting the variety of brands of cigarettes that can be sold. Philip Morris contends that these laws violate its intellectual property rights, while Uruguay asserts its right to enact regulations to protect public health.

This arbitration case is testing a number of issues affecting global health and the future of international investment law: How should arbitrators consider the legislation and application of public health regulations that conflict with foreign investor business models? How do marketing strategies affect the treatment of intellectual property as investment under BITs? What is the relationship between Uruguay’s international law obligations under the BIT, and those under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control?

This panel will discuss these questions as well as others regarding the interface between international investment law and global health law and policy.

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