Translational Biomedicine

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Needs-driven rather than market-driven rules to spread access to medicines in poor countries

Daniele Dionisio

Back ground: Communicable diseases (including HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, river blindness, Chagas,sleeping sickness, and leishmaniasis) disproportionately affect the people living in resource-limited countries.While current patent system does not work for poor end users in these countries, it adds to the stranglehold on accessto lifesaving medicines by the protectionist policies of wealthy countries. Nonetheless, increasing pressure is registerednowadays for strategies up to promoting pharmaceutical innovation, research and development (R&D) and equitableaccess to medicines in the sake of the worst-off.

Method: Analysis here will compare some strategy models in theirpotential to fairly attune patents to innovation, R&D and access, in the light of new perspectives by governments andinstitutions aligning with the spirit and resolutions of just closed sixty-third WHO World Health Assembly.

Conclusion: No single model is likely to be enough solution, and a combination of two or more may be needed to ensure thatoutputs of R&D, innovation and access are available without restrictions. To this aim, all models should complementcurrent intellectual property regimens and channel open source schemes, sustainable financing mechanisms, andneeds-driven rather than merely market-driven rules.