Until the late 19th century, patenting medicines was considered by some as controversial and even unethical.
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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.
Lowering the tax rates on profits from patents registered in Australia is unlikely to increase local research and development. But it will be a gift for multinationals.
The race to make enough coronavirus vaccines is underway.
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A transcript of The Conversation Weekly podcast episode #3.
Access to coronavirus vaccine depends on where in the world you live.
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Plus new research on why China is closing down coal-fired power stations. Listen to episode 3 of The Conversation Weekly.
The TRIPS waiver enables WTO member states to manufacture and distribute COVID-19 drugs and medical supplies that would normally be protected by patents.
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.
Drug companies normally use patents to protect new treatments.
A man looks at a prescription drug bottle. Many Americans will chronic conditions report rationing their drugs because of cost.
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.
Physicians often have reasons for prescribing a specific drug.
Insurance companies sometimes try to cut costs by substituting less expensive drugs for a specific drug prescription. That’s raising problems in many cases, and actually causing harm.
Miniature biomanufacturing kits like this prototype could revolutionize the pharmaceutical industry.
Small-batch brewers are starting to tinker with biologic drugs to meet their own medical needs. A side effect of their success would be a disruption to how big pharma makes and distributes drugs.
High-tech ways to scan nature’s own creations.
Pharmaceutical companies focus on small molecules they’ve devised – and can easily patent. But nature’s already come up with many antibacterial compounds that drug designers could use to make medicines.
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
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.
An injectable medication.
The maker of the EpiPen has raised the price of two injectable treatments to about US$600, six times the price nine years ago. Why do drug companies do this? Because they can. The FDA ends up helping.