Report: Intellectual property laws hinder access to medicines
A report issued this week by the Commission on Intellectual Property Rights states that intellectual property rights laws hold up access to vital medicines, including anti-HIV drugs, in developing countries. The report, titled "Integrating Intellectual Property Rights and Development Policy," also recommends that strategies on compulsory licensing, which allows local firms to produce generic medications, and ability-to-pay, tier-based pricing structures with drug companies be developed to expand drug access in poor nations. "Developed countries often proceed on the assumption that what is good for them is likely to be good for developing countries," John Barton, chair of the commission, told Dow Jones International News. "But in the case of developing countries, more and stronger protection is not necessarily better. Developing countries should not be encouraged or coerced into adopting stronger [intellectual property] rights without regard to the impact this has on their development."