Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Preferring Price Discrimination Over Sidestepping Patents?

Andrew Jack of the Financial Times wrote an article about discussions between 500 representatives of government, industry and NGO's about patents at the World Health Organisation.

The article, which is named 'Pressure over patents forces pharma on to the back foot' mentions a possible and intriguing solution to tackle the tension between accessibility of medicines in poor countries and return on investment by using patents.

"The trade-off is whether richer patients in poorer but fast-growing countries such as India, China and Brazil should not contribute more to the overall costs of medical innovation, rather than simply paying the marginal production cost of drugs.
Companies such as GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer have been studying whether they can introduce more differential pricing within developing countries, charging less to poorer patients while preventing richer ones from getting those drugs as cheaply."

Price discrimination between rich and poor patients. Unemployment benefits, if any, could include medicines for example. Read Mr Jack's article here. Hat tip to Jeff Roberts of McGill's great CIPP "IP News This Week". See also the CIPP Blog here, by IP scholars from McGill University.

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