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Patents and Health

Abstract : The history of patents in the health field has been characterized by conflicts and exceptions since the early nineteenth century. Many states, both in Europe and in the global South, excluded medicines and medical methods from patenting for a long time, while the codes of ethics of medical organizations and faculties proscribed patenting by doctors and scientists. Today the pharmaceutical industry patents more innovations than any other, and is also the industry whose patenting practices are challenged the most by states and civil society. Contrary to the postulates of jurists who believed that the industrialization of pharmaceuticals and the growth of investments in research unquestionably justified the patenting of medicines under common patent laws, the normalization of medicine patents was rapidly called into question by the AIDS epidemic. The globalization of 20-year medicine patents which occurred with the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994 triggered opposition and challenges to the innovation patent model. Economists and NGOs now vie with each other in proposing ways of reconciling innovation and access to treatment.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 10:15:44 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-02165455, version 1


Maurice Cassier. Patents and Health. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society, 2014. ⟨halshs-02165455⟩



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