This background paper describes the basic principles behind two strategies that could be used to bring down the price of drug therapies: parallel importing (bringing drugs from another country) and compulsory licensing (restricting the monopoly rights of existing patent holders to permit generic drug production).

Other means of lowering drug prices are also briefly discussed. The paper aims to provide people with sufficient information to participate fully in the debate surrounding international trade laws and access to essential drugs (especially HIV-related medications).

The report is also available in French and Spanish.