The global politics of pharmaceutical monopoly power

The global politics of pharmaceutical monopoly power

Supporting patent pools as a tool for promoting innovations

This paper states that many countries were able to use the TRIPS flexibilities to access lower-priced generic drugs. However, as pharmaceutical product patents start to be granted in producing countries, this situation will change. For example, the Doha Declaration has enabled India, which has long served as the "pharmacy of the developing world", to implement a patent law containing a number of very significant safeguards.

To resolve today’s problems of high drug prices as a result of patent monopolies, the paper thinks that countries should make full use of the provisions in the Doha Declaration. Furthermore, the WTO should extend the 2016 deadline for LDCs to comply with obligations in the TRIPS agreement. In addition, the paper introduces a re-conceptualised definition of innovation as encompassing discovery, development and delivery, thereby including access as an integral part of innovation.

Equally important, the international community should consider supporting patent pools as a tool for improving the management of intellectual property for access and innovation. In this sense, the paper suggests a new agreement on sharing the costs and benefits of medical research and development (R&D) for the sake of humankind. In like manner, the paper underlines a proposition to change the way R&D is financed. At the core of this proposal is the elimination of the linkage between drug prices and drug discovery. The paper also highlights the importance of establishing a trade framework for R&D that focuses on equitable contribution to the cost of R&D through multiple means – not exclusively through the granting of patent monopoly rights.

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