A Handbook of Contemporary Research
- Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Toshiko Takenka
Chapter 24: Current Controversies Concerning Patent Rights and Public Health in a World of International Norms
24 Current controversies concerning patent rights and public health in a world of international norms Cynthia M. Ho 1 Introduction Patents are often touted as important and even essential to promoting innovation in the area of drug discovery, but the potential benefits may be illusory or even non-existent. In particular, to the extent that patent rights entitle their owner to exclude others from the making of the invention, the patent owner may price a patented drug at levels that are beyond what some can afford. Pharmaceutical companies that obtain patents emphasize that patents promote research that helps all of society and that higher costs for patented drugs are an unfortunate, but necessary reality to funding expensive research and development of drugs. Such companies point to sunk costs such as extensive clinical testing of drugs, including those that never reach the marketplace. Human rights advocates and developing countries, on the other hand, emphasize that giving corporations rights to control access to medicine is inhumane where due to patent protection, treatment is available, but not affordable. Can patent rights be reconciled with public health? Technically, every nation has the ability to decide whether or not to grant patents, including patents on pharmaceutical compounds. Historically, many nations elected not to provide any patents, or only limited patent rights as one method to promote greater access to medicine. However, while this option technically still exists, it is increasingly an illusory option in light of other realities. In particular, many countries of the world, including...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.
Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.
Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.