Medical Research: Science in the Public Interest. “Equitable Licenses” for the Results of Publicly Sponsored Medical Research
(2009; 32 pages)


Drugs may be essential for survival: According to the information of the World Health Organization (WHO), several millions of people die every year of diseases which could be treated with medication or prevented by vaccinations. There are a lot of reasons why life-saving drugs are inaccessible for many people: infrastructural problems in poor countries, lack of personnel in the healthcare system, high customs and tax duties on medical products, but also high prices for the drugs themselves.

Especially in the case of newly developed drugs, monopolies cause high prices due to patent protection. In terms of the economy, patents are an instrument to increase prices. However, this is how drugs become unaffordable, particularly for poor people. How can access to low-priced drugs be ensured? This question is not only important to people in poor countries, because even in Germany expensive drugs already contribute significantly to the crisis in healthcare systems.

Pursuant to the conventions of the United Nations, health is one of the human rights, as well as access to healthcare supply. This is why the World Health Assembly 2008 endorsed an action plan to enhance medical supply for people in poor countries...How can it be ensured that as many people as possible have health benefits from new research results? There are already modern approaches worldwide, trying to meet this demand. New license models under the Equitable Licensing concept are being discussed in the United States between public institutions and commercial enterprises. These aim to allow access to the products and technologies of publicly sponsored research. This brochure presents the Equitable Licensing concept and contribute to a solution of the problems of drug supply in poor countries...

The WHO Essential Medicines and Health Products Information Portal was designed and is maintained by Human Info NGO. Last updated: December 1, 2019