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Pharmaceutical Patents Review


Harris, T and Nicol, D and Gruen, N, Pharmaceutical Patents Review, Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra (2013) [Contract Report]


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Copyright 2013 Commonwealth of Australia Except for third party work attributed in the paper and the Coat of Arms, this copyright work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia licence.

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The pharmaceutical industry relies on patents more than most: successful pharmaceuticals require significant prior investment in research and development (R&D), yet competitors can cheaply copy them once they are on the market. The patent system restricts such free riding giving patentees a period of market exclusivity. It allows a reward for past investments and, more importantly, provides incentives for continued innovation.

Patents also have negative effects. They may increase prices and so restrict supply by more than the amount required to provide the necessary incentives to innovate. These negative features are important because they impact on human health. And though innovators seeking to patent must disclose considerable information about their inventions - thus providing a platform to others for further innovation - patents can also restrict further innovation by increasing legal risks and constraining competition in follow-on innovation.

Thus the question of how much patent protection to offer is crucial. Pharmaceutical patent rights that run for too long or that are defined too expansively will deprive people of drugs because purchasers, including Governments, cannot afford them. They can also constrain follow on innovation: too weak a patent system means patients will suffer because the industry has inadequate incentives to develop new drugs.

Item Details

Item Type:Contract Report
Keywords:Patent, pharmaceutical
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Private law and civil obligations
Research Field:Intellectual property law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Justice and the law
Objective Field:Justice and the law not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Nicol, D (Professor Dianne Nicol)
ID Code:91454
Year Published:2013
Deposited By:Law
Deposited On:2014-05-20
Last Modified:2017-11-20
Downloads:483 View Download Statistics

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