WHAT'S YOUR PERSPECTIVE?
Courtesy Nathan Benn
Access to Antiretroviral DrugsPatents protect drug companies’ rights to the products they develop. They have generated intense controversy in the global health community. Until they expire, patents prevent others from making the same drug available at a lower price. Recently, some countries have challenged patent law in order to produce cheap AIDS medications for poor patients. Critics argue that this will discourage researchers from developing new medicines.
Take a look at some of the different viewpoints below and follow the links to learn more.
Do you think patents help or harm the development of medicines and patients’ access to them?
"In America one of the ways we reward innovation is by granting a patent, if you take a risk and you make an investment and succeed you have the exclusive right to sell what you invent and you have the right to profit if you can."
"Without patents, the [pharmaceutical] industry ceases to exist."
"Some would argue that this is a business like any other; I would argue a business that each year posts impressive profits in selling medications to the sick might have a special obligation to think of those who are both sick and poor."
"A medical prize fund provides an alternative. Such a fund would give large rewards for cures or vaccines for diseases like malaria that affect millions, and smaller rewards for drugs that are similar to existing ones..."
"It's all a big agreement to keep developing nations hostage to the multinational industry."
"We must encourage innovation, drive down prices through partnerships and competition, and make distribution and use of medicines more efficient."