Alfred Marshall Lecture Intellectual Property Rights Protection in Developing Countries: The Case of Pharmaceuticals
Patent enforcement in developing countries generates considerable controversy, especially when patents involve potentially life-saving drugs. This paper argues that common concerns regarding the effects of patents on prices and on research incentives of pharmaceutical multinationals are misplaced. Rather, the most significant effects are likely to concern access to patented drugs in poor countries. Because prices in developing countries are much lower than in the developed world, multinationals may choose to enter such markets with a delay, or not at all, implying a complete loss of access to patented drugs in developing countries. Even when multinationals enter countries like India, their marketing and distribution networks are not currently built out, leading to limited access within the country. Such considerations may provide a justification for policies targeting access in the short and medium run, such as compulsory licensing. (JEL: O34, D12, D4, L65, F13) (c) 2010 by the European Economic Association.
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Volume (Year): 8 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2-3 (04-05)
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