Ensuring Medicines for Tomorrow’s World
Chapter 2: Promoting Innovation: Patents, Subsidies, Prizes and Prices
2. Promoting innovation: patents, subsidies, prizes and prices 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...
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