Drug Prices, Patents and Access to Life-Saving Medicines: Changes Are Urgently Needed in the COVID-19 Era

Forthcoming in the European Intellectual Property Review (EIPR)

11 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2021 Last revised: 5 May 2021

See all articles by Olga Gurgula

Olga Gurgula

Brunel University London - Brunel Law School; University of Oxford - Oxford Martin School

Date Written: February 6, 2021

Abstract

When patented life-saving drugs are inaccessible to patients due to high prices it is evident that the system does not perform its intended function and urgently requires reforming. The paper discusses the evidence recently revealed by the US House Committee on Oversight and Reform that directly contradicts pharmaceutical companies’ traditional argument justifying strong patent protection as a vehicle for recouping their R&D investments. It further suggests that structural and comprehensive changes are necessary, including a rigorous investigation into pharmaceutical pricing and patenting practices, ensuring adequate access to the drugs developed with public funds, and assuming the responsibility for public health by governments.

Keywords: patents, strategic patenting, access to medicines, high drug prices, COVID-19

Suggested Citation

Gurgula, Olga, Drug Prices, Patents and Access to Life-Saving Medicines: Changes Are Urgently Needed in the COVID-19 Era (February 6, 2021). Forthcoming in the European Intellectual Property Review (EIPR) , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3780630 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3780630

Olga Gurgula (Contact Author)

Brunel University London - Brunel Law School ( email )

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Elliott Jaques Building
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University of Oxford - Oxford Martin School ( email )

University of Oxford
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Oxford, OX1 3BD
United Kingdom

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