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Developing Nations Must Work With Biopharma Industry To Improve Access To Medicines, Not Devalue Intellectual Property System

Fox News: U.N. panel blames capitalism, property rights for lack of access to medicines in poor nations
Tom Giovanetti, president of the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI)

“On Wednesday morning, a special United Nations High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines released its findings … The alleged purpose of the High-Level Panel was to find solutions to the problem of availability of medicines in poor and developing countries. … [But the panel’s] mandate — the culmination of years of campaigning by NGOs — literally assumes an inherent conflict between patents and access to medicines for public health. … [T]he intellectual property system, while not perfect, is the best system ever devised for incentivizing innovation, transferring knowledge to encourage further innovation, and distributing the fruits of that innovation. … The U.N. High-Level Panel is a tragically missed opportunity. There are ways to increase access to medicines for developing countries, but if poor countries are going to make extravagant guarantees of access to all of the latest and greatest medicines, their only hope of keeping those promises is working with the biopharma industry as a partner, not destroying its incentives and assaulting the global trading system. The High-Level Panel could have made a useful contribution along these lines, but its conveners took the easy way out” (9/14).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.