Economic Aspects of Access to Medicines After 2005: Product Patent Protection and Emerging Firm Strategies in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry

Gehl Sampath, Padmashree (2005). Economic Aspects of Access to Medicines After 2005: Product Patent Protection and Emerging Firm Strategies in the Indian Pharmaceutical Industry. CIPIH.

URL: http://www.who.int/intellectualproperty/studies/ac...

Abstract

Competitive processes that dominate new-economy industries in many sectors centre on the protection of R&D efforts through intellectual property rights, and on resulting technological change (Evans et al, 2002). The pharmaceutical industry, although one such industry, confronts us with a plethora of issues that run far beyond shaping technological change. Patent protection guarantees profits to inventors in return for investing in the production of socially useful information by way of a temporary monopoly on the product. The patent holder can prohibit all others from copying the patented product and offering it in the market for a lower price, during the life of the patent. As a result, two diverging questions of public health – that of providing wider access to medicines to all those who need it at affordable prices, and that of granting incentives to invest in the research and development of new therapeutic products (Lanjouw, 2002, p. 4) – are intertwined and can sometimes run contrary to one another in the short-term or mid-term in the health sector.

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