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Articles on Drug patents

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Global Justice campaigners in London stand by fake coffins to highlight global COVID-19 deaths. If pharma companies waived intellectual property rights, it would be easier for low- and middle-income countries to access COVID-19 vaccines. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

We still need a vaccine patent waiver, but not the one on offer at the World Trade Organization meeting

Waiving patent rights on COVID-19 vaccines and drugs is still crucial to ensure access globally, but the waiver on the table at the June World Trade Organization meeting doesn’t do the job.
From thalidomide to Viagra, drug repurposing salvaged failed treatments by giving them new targets. smartboy10/DigitalVision Vectors via Getty Images

Repurposing generic drugs can reduce time and cost to develop new treatments – but low profitability remains a barrier

Drug repurposing can redeem failed treatments and squeeze out new uses from others. But many pharmaceutical companies are hesitant to retool existing drugs without a high return on investment.
Until the late 19th century, patenting medicines was considered by some as controversial and even unethical. S. Vannini/De Agostini Editorial via Getty Images

The US drug industry used to oppose patents – what changed?

The pharmaceutical industry overall has been deeply opposed to waiving COVID-19 vaccine patents, but a historian of the industry explains that drug companies once opposed patents altogether.
The TRIPS waiver enables WTO member states to manufacture and distribute COVID-19 drugs and medical supplies that would normally be protected by patents. (Pixabay)

COVID-19 drug and vaccine patents are putting profit before people

The TRIPS waiver makes COVID-19 treatments more accessible globally by enabling manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 drugs and medical supplies that would normally be protected by patents.
A man looks at a prescription drug bottle. Many Americans will chronic conditions report rationing their drugs because of cost. Burlingham/Shutterstock.com

Why a plan to lower prescription drug prices should not be piecemeal

Presidential candidates and the current president have all talked about ways to lower drug costs, but experts know it is going to take more than politics to change how drugs are priced in the US.
Paul Wright, in treatment for opioid addiction in June 2017 at the Neil Kennedy Recovery Clinic in Youngstown Ohio, shows a photo of himself from 2015, when he almost died from an overdose. AP Photo/David Dermer

How Big Pharma is hindering treatment of the opioid addiction epidemic

The number of people dying from opioid overdose continues to rise, in part because of cheap street drugs. Yet the price of a drug used to treat addiction is out of reach for many.

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