COUNTERING: “only 1-4% of essential medicines are patented”


An argument that comes up a lot, mostly citing Amir Attaran’s paper:

“Only seventeen essential medicines are patentable, although usually not actually patented, so that overall patent incidence is low (1.4 percent) and concentrated in larger markets. This and other results shed light on the policy dialogue among public health activists, the pharmaceutical industry, and governments that is often based on mistaken premises about how patents affect corporate revenues or the health of the world’s poorest. Pragmatism and greater flexibility are urged, so that policy may better concentrate on the greater causes of epidemic mortality, which now pose unprecedented threats to global peace and security.

Poverty, not patent policies, more often inhibits access to essential medicines in the developing world.”

Also US delegation submission to WIPO (Dec 2011) claiming 4% of EMs patented. [Bottom of first page of link]

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