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30 January 2018Africa

Pfizer, patents and political quagmires

Shahan Islam said his enforcement efforts against generic producers often lead to counterarguments surrounding the price of Pfizer’s drugs and accusations that the company does not provide sufficient access to medicine for poorer people.

He described the situation as a “political quagmire” for judges, who sometimes overlook the vast investment in research and development that was necessary to bring a drug to the market—something the patent system is designed to incentivise.

Islam pointed out that while access to medicines is an important issue, patent owners should not take the blame for problems with accessibility.

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