Patent Pools: Assessing Their Value-Added for Global Health Innovation and Access
Amrita Palriwala and Rebecca Goulding
A number of policy researchers have argued that intellectual property (IP) regimes act to widen gaps in drug innovation and access for neglected diseases (ND). Several groups have proposed IP reforms, including the creation of various forms of Joint IP Management, known as “patent pools” to address IP barriers for neglected disease drugs. But what is the value-add of these pools? Are they a significant improvement over existing mechanisms that have similar objectives?
This paper sheds light on these questions, providing a timely analytical framework for understanding the key dimensions of IP regimes as potential barriers to ND research and development and access. Further, this paper assesses the degree to which two “live” initiatives—the Medicines Patent Pool established with support from UNITAID and BIO Ventures for Global Health's Pool for Open Innovation against Neglected Tropical Diseases—address these barriers. Finally, it provides a preliminary analysis on the strengths and weaknesses of these pools to create incentives for IP holders and users and to achieve intended public health goals.
Read our blog article in the Huffington Post by R4D President, David di Ferranti, and Managing Director, Robert Hecht.