Edited by Gian Luca Burci and Brigit Toebes
Chapter 6: Health and intellectual property rights
Intellectual property rights (IPRs) play an important and controversial role in respect to the protection and promotion of human health. On one hand, certain forms of IP, most specifically the “patent” and regulatory data exclusivity, are intended to stimulate investment in innovation and the introduction of new and improved therapeutic products. On the other hand, those same IP protections may reward their owners with exclusive rights that may significantly restrict access to the products. The tension produces stress on public policy makers that must determine the appropriate balance for encouraging innovation while providing necessary access. This chapter describes the complex web of international IP-related rules that are relevant to health products, and reflects on areas of continuing controversy regarding the characteristics of those rules and their enforcement.
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