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Financial Investment, Progress In HIV/AIDS Treatment Must Be Protected By International Patent Law

In this Hill opinion piece, John Castellani, CEO and president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, writes, “Over the past three decades, more than 30 treatments have been approved to treat HIV/AIDS,” but he adds, “While this is remarkable progress, it’s not enough.” He continues, “In order for scientific progress in these areas to continue, the substantial financial investments in medicines created in America’s biopharmaceutical labs — medicines that take years and billions of dollars to develop — must be protected by international patent laws.”

“It’s important, however, to underscore that such protection need not inhibit government programs from obtaining medications for patients overseas who desperately need treatment,” he writes, adding, “Specifically, the proposed intellectual property provisions in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement will not hinder the ability of the U.S. government to procure medicines for the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).” Castellani states, “The bottom line is that if governments and international agencies wish to purchase safe and effective drugs through the PEPFAR mechanism, the proposed TPP plan does nothing to change this. But what is certain is that without appropriate intellectual property protection, further innovations and needed research, progress could be slowed and in some areas stopped — and it is patients who will lose out” (11/2).

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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.