The Global Governance of HIV/AIDS

The Global Governance of HIV/AIDS

Intellectual Property and Access to Essential Medicines

Elgar Intellectual Property and Global Development series

Edited by Obijiofor Aginam, John Harrington and Peter K. Yu

The Global Governance of HIV/AIDS explores the implications of high international intellectual property standards for access to essential medicines in developing countries. With a focus on HIV/AIDS governance, the volume provides a timely analysis of the international legal and political landscape, the relationship between human rights and intellectual property, and emerging issues in global health policy. It concludes with concrete strategies on how to improve access to HIV/AIDS medicines.

Chapter 8: Patent licensing strategies for the research and development of pharmaceuticals in developing countries

Gail E. Evans

Subjects: development studies, law and development, law - academic, health law, intellectual property law, international economic law, trade law, law and development, politics and public policy, international relations, public policy


More than 80 per cent of the world’s population lives in developing countries where communicable diseases account for 50 per cent of the disease burden (WHO, 2008, Annex, p. 5). The opening recital of World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (Global Strategy and Plan of Action) affirms the need to construct a sustainable basis for research and development (R & D) relevant to diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries (WHO, 2008). Regrettably, the factors that drive pharmaceutical innovation are often biased against the kinds of diseases that are disproportionately found in low-income countries. Innovation to address diseases primarily affecting the poor is impeded by a combination of under-investment by the public sector and market failure (WHO, 2003, pp. 1–2; WHO Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights, 2007, p. 6). WHO Member States recognize that the global network of universities and publicly funded research institutions has a key role to play in the R & D of medicines for neglected diseases, frequently in partnership with the private sector (WHO, 2006, p. 3). The Bayh–Dole model of technology transfer encourages such research institutions to seek patent protection for inventions made using public funds and to license those inventions to the pharmaceutical industry with the goal of promoting their commercialization and public availability (Arora and Fosfuri, 2003). However, in view of the long duration and high cost of innovation, when negotiating with a university, patentee pharmaceutical companies will normally seek an exclusive patent licence

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