On Tuesday 2nd October MSF launched an online resource to help civil society groups and patient groups in developing countries to challenge unwarranted drug patents through patent oppositions.
Richard Bergström, Director General of EFPIA stated: “The pharmaceutical industry needs a patent system that grants patents of the highest quality and oppositions are part of that system. It is also important that the IP system as a whole supports both major breakthroughs and incremental advances. As much as challenging patents is normal, the revocation of patents that have been granted will hopefully be exceptions to the rule. Any measures to revoke a patent should be based on robust assessment against accepted patentability criteria ”
In the longer-term, an important debate that MSF and other parts of civil society will need to engage in is how to address the fundamental issues of access. How is it that in India, a G20 country, the majority of Indians still do not have access to basic medication? This is not a patent problem- it is one of insufficient allocation of healthcare funds in these countries. The industry is committed in principle and practice to working with Governments to identify differential pricing models which align prices with ability to pay. The development of these models offers a sustainable way of funding research and expanding access, but has to be balanced with action from governments to expand access to healthcare.
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