Pharma-Innovation - Patent-2
Start date: Jun 1, 2008,
End date: May 31, 2011
We seek to develop a plan for amending the current Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) regime for rewarding pharmaceutical innovations. The existing IPR regime is highly problematic. This has become obvious in the wake of a series of public health emergencies, most notably the AIDS crisis, which pits the vital needs of poor patients against the need of pharmaceutical companies to recoup their investments. Amending the current system represents one of the major 21st century challenges, namely delivering reasonably priced health care to patients around the world. This is a challenge that lies at the heart of biomedical ethics striving for sustainable world development. Our effort to take up the challenge focuses on a potential two-tiered patent system. This scheme would create a new patent (Patent-2) that is complementary to existing monopoly patents, leaving innovators free to choose a patent of either kind. Patent-2 holders would not have veto powers over the reproduction of their inventions, thus allowing medicines to become available at competitive market prices without delay. Patent-2 holders would be rewarded, out of public funds, in proportion to the impact of their invention on the global burden of disease. A first sketch of the “Patent-2” scheme has already been developed through a grant from the Australian Research Council. However, the system is now in urgent need of development with input from a range of experts and policy-makers. In order to forge a policy consensus, some of the most influential social philosophers and economists world-wide (Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, Peter Singer and Thomas Pogge) will be joined by key policy institutes to use their cumulative weight to enhance and promote a proposal that has the clear potential to provide access to essential medicines to poor patients whilst increasing the possibilities for innovation in the pharmaceutical sector.
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