When a new drug is developed, the inventor receives a protective right, a 20-year patent. The patent holder can market the drug exclusively and command any price he wants (monopoly). The companies thus have a major interest in selling large quantities of the drug at the highest price possible. But a new antibiotic has to be used sparingly in order to delay the development of resistance for as long as possible. This makes antibiotics research uninteresting for most pharmaceutical companies. They prefer to invest in more lucrative areas. This is why no truly new antibiotics have been developed in the last 30 years …
The system is sick – why drug patents are damaging health
Patents on drugs are a goldmine for the large corporations in rich countries. This would not even be so bad if the protected products were all actually useful and available to all who need them. But neither one nor the other is the case. The main victims are the world’s poor – but even for us in the wealthy countries, drugs patents are anything but ideal.
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