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
Date Written: February 6, 2021
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
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