‘Patent-Breaking Magnanimity’ Should Be Reserved for Generic Production of Antiretroviral Drugs, Opinion Piece Says
"Nothing is as important as the provision of essential life-saving antiretroviral drugs to the millions of people who so desperately need them," and "[p]harmaceutical firms should be commended for allowing the production of low-cost, generic versions" of these drugs for developing nations, but "we can't expect this patent-breaking magnanimity to be extended to other drugs," Mark Wainberg, director of Canada's McGill University AIDS Centre, writes in a National Post opinion piece. To "ensure success" in providing antiretroviral drugs to resource-poor nations, "government and industry must share responsibility" and developed nations should "accept reasonable prices that will encourage and support innovation as well as enforce intellectual property protections for those companies that provide global access," Wainberg says. Nations must ensure that "[d]iversion and re-exportation" do not pose a threat to people who need the drugs or to the "innovative pharmaceutical companies" that are willing to sacrifice patent protection, which is essential "if we are not to jeopardize the ability [of companies] to generate profits that are reinvested into new drug development," Wainberg says. If drug companies are willing to forego profits in the developing world, developed nations should not be tempted into using such approaches domestically, as companies "have to be able to charge a fair price and have their patents respected in wealthy nations," Wainberg concludes (Wainberg, National Post, 11/19).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.