Manufacturers, Inventors Blast U.N. Medicines Report
Proposal Threatens Innovation, Lifesaving Products, They Say
The National Association of Manufacturers and USInventor have blasted a United Nations report on access to medicines as compromising the intellectual property of pharmaceuticals developers.
NAM president and CEO Jay Timmons said that the report, from the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, contains intellectual property (IP) proposals that, if implemented, would undermine the ability of innovative manufacturers to be able to support research and development projects, impacting their ability to address global health challenges.
USInventor, a Washington-based interest group, said it is “disappointed” with the report’s recommendations, saying the process missed the opportunity to identify “real, coherent, and sustainable solutions for increasing access to healthcare technologies.”
The report recommended reform of intellectual property rules to make them “sensitive to public health issues” to better align “profit-driven innovation models and public health priorities.” The report also recommended a scheme of compulsory licenses to address health issues among poor populations, greater transparency on costs and prices, and a delinking of research and development costs from ultimate pharmaceuticals pricing.
The report, according to a statement from USInventor, “singles out inventors’ rights as part of an incoherent system for access to healthcare. We propose the opposite. Inventors develop solutions to seemingly impossible challenges, drive innovation, and create new products for people around the world. Much of this work is supported by intellectual property rules that respect the ingenuity, perseverance, and investment made by individual inventors.”
The report’s “single-minded attack on IP is dangerously unbalanced and could inhibit the ability of innovative manufacturers from developing the lifesaving medicines and cures that solve the world’s current and future global health challenges,” said Timmons. ““Robust IP protections are the lifeblood of manufacturers, ensuring that the results of costly research and development are not stolen and that investments in new technologies produce solutions to tomorrow’s problems. That is why the proposal sets a dangerous precedent that could threaten manufacturers of all types and the good-paying jobs they provide.”
USInventpor went on to say that the report’s implications go beyond that the health sector. “The same arguments will be applied to manufacturers in any industry who are addressing other global challenges,” the organization’s statement said.
The report panel denied that the report is an attack on the intellectual property system. “At present the market is not innovating effectively to various challenges like antimicrobial resistance, diseases of the poor, and rare diseases because there is not a clear immediate return on investment,” said a panel document. “The High-Level Panel’s report make recommendations for improving the system so that there is move investment in innovation, innovation is sufficiently remunerated and rewarded and there is greater access for patients in need.”
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