Category: Intellectual Property Rights & Innovation

   What is the relationship between patent protection, medical innovation, and human health? Supporters of strong patent regimes note that patents encourage companies to invest heavily in research and development, eventually producing new drugs that decrease mortality from disease and increase the quality of life for millions of people around the world. Critics of patent protection claim that patents deny poor nations affordable access to life-saving medicines—and point to the explosion of AIDS in Africa as proof.

   Economists generally agree that patents give companies a powerful financial incentive to invest in the risky and expensive process of drug development. Without patent protection, the pipeline of new medicines would be severely reduced. This would be an enormous tragedy for public health — including global efforts to fight AIDS and other drug resistant or emerging infectious diseases like avian flu.

   Rather than punishing companies that produce life-saving medicines, where there are true "market failures" in the provision of drugs to treat diseases that disproportionately affect poor nations, policymakers should focus on public private partnerships and other incentives that will lead to both increased innovation and access to new medicines in developing nations.

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Forum


Commentary


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Research


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Events

  • Health for Humanity: How Patent Protection Saves Lives, Center for Medical Progress Conference, Speaker(s): Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., Julian Morris, Frank R. Lichtenberg, Roger Bate, Dr. Amir Attaran, James Love, December 2002
    Transcript Available
  • Patents for Antiretroviral Drugs: Help or Hinder the Search for a Solution to AIDS Treatment in Africa, Center for Medical Progress Presentation, Speaker(s): Dr. Amir Attaran, Frank R. Lichtenberg, December 2001

News


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