Global Pharmaceutical Policy
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Global Pharmaceutical Policy

Ensuring Medicines for Tomorrow’s World

Frederick M. Abbott and Graham Dukes

Pharmaceuticals play a central role in health care throughout the world. The pharmaceutical industry is beset with difficulties as increasing research and development expenditure yields fewer new treatments. Public and private budgets strain under the weight of high prices and limited access. The world’s poor see little effort to address diseases prevalent in less affluent societies, while the world’s wealthy are overusing prescription drugs, risking their health and wasting resources.
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Chapter 2: Promoting Innovation: Patents, Subsidies, Prizes and Prices

Frederick M. Abbott and Graham Dukes


There are two avenues of inquiry fundamental to the development of policy for the global supply of medicines. One concerns the way in which new medicines are developed and brought to market, including the effects that various innovation mechanisms may have on pricing and access. The other concerns the way in which the medicines sector is regulated in terms of assuring quality, safety and efficacy. The latter system is concerned with the processes by which medicines are developed, approved, manufactured, distributed, used and assessed. The systems of innovation and regulation are integrated at various levels. We begin by examining global policy with respect to pharmaceutical innovation. Policies with respect to quality, safety and efficacy are no less important. However, throughout the past several years, policy makers, business leaders and public interest groups have expressed the most intense concern with suboptimal rates of medicines innovation, and with whether the mechanisms now used to promote innovation are unduly inhibiting public access to the medicines that are developed. Chapter 3 provides historical perspective on medicines innovation. It considers whether regulatory approval processes may have contributed to presently low rates of innovation. Chapter 3 delves into future challenges in regulating innovation arising from biotechnology. With that said, we launch directly into the policies and mechanisms intended to promote innovation, and their potential effect on access to newly developed medicines. THE BASICS OF PATENTS AND PRICES The basic idea behind the grant of patents is simple. The inventor of a new product or process is...

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