MEDICAL PROGRESS AND PUBLIC HEALTH: A LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE
JULIAN MORRIS, Director, International Policy Network
FRANK LICHTENBERG, Courtney Brown Professor of Business, Columbia University Business School
DO PATENTS PREVENT ACCESS?
ROGER BATE, Director, Africa Fighting Malaria in South Africa
AMIR ATTARAN, Research Fellow, Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University
JAMES LOVE, Director, Consumer Project on Technology
Moderator: ROBERT GOLDBERG, PH.D., Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute, Director, Center for Medical Progress
In recent weeks many developing nations and their supporters have argued that in order to provide essential treatments for HIV, tuberculosis and malaria, both now and in the future, countries must have the right to infringe on the patent of any drug deemed necessary for the public health at any time, as well as a broad right to import generic versions of patented drugs from anywhere to meet public health needs. According this approach, now under consideration by the World Trade Organization, the policy of governments seizing patents and importing for a public-health crisis “…goes beyond AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Any health care item could be included. We want to use this in the United States, in Germany and in Switzerland.”
But are patents an impediment to global health? And is the idea of increasing the generic production and importing of today’s drugs a viable approach to saving lives and improving health? If the patent of every health care item is fair game for seizure and generic production, what will the impact be on future innovation in America and around the world? This forum will examine the relationship between patents and global health and address what impact “the Napsterization” of medical progress through easier generic access to patented products would have on current and future access to the best medicine.