Australia's position on medicines policy in international forums: Intellectual property protection and public health

Belinda Townsend, David Legge, Deborah Gleeson, Hans Lofgren

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Universal access to affordable medicines, which are safe, efficacious and of high quality, and which are appropriately used, depends on national legislation that is in turn constrained by a range of international agreements. This regulatory configuration also affects the profitability of the pharmaceutical industry, domestic and international. Tensions and contradictions between industry profitability and public health objectives relate to access, innovation and regulation. High levels of intellectual property (IP) protection (including easy patenting, generous privileges and strong enforcement) enable longer monopoly pricing which contributes to pharmaceutical industry revenues but increases the cost barriers to consumers and the cost burden on national health systems. The access barriers associated with monopoly pricing are particularly steep for poor people with little or no social protection and are particularly burdensome for developing countries (Abbott and Dukes 2009)
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)103-131pp
    JournalJournal of Australian Political Economy
    Issue number73
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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