A Patent Pool for Medicines: More Medicines

Around three million people living with AIDS in developing countries have access to treatment, a ten-fold increase in just a few years. A key factor in this dramatic achievement was the availability of low-cost drugs produced in India, the pharmacy of the developing world. Companies there could produce AIDS drugs generically because the country did not grant medicine patents until 2005. However, this is now changing. India has begun granting patents on medicines to meet its obligations under the 1994 World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The prices of newer essential medicines are likely to rise, threatening the viability of many AIDS treatment programmes – and access to medicines more broadly. An international patent pool for essential medicines could help address this looming crisis.

The World Today Updated 14 October 2020 Published 1 February 2009 3 minute READ

Ellen 't Hoen

Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, Medecins Sans Frontieres

Tido von Schoen-Angerer

Director, Campaign for Access to Essential Medicines, Medecins Sans Frontieres

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