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Do patents hold the key to better access?

As debates over compulsory licensing continue, the view that patents hold the key to access to medicines is widely held. According to this article in the Huffington Post, the accepted view that a stronger patent regime in India will increase the prices of medicines, hitting the poor harder as they spend a larger portion of their disposable income towards medical treatment, is misleading. The article reports that  according to the NSSO survey, that 70% of India’s population who still reside in rural areas has to borrow more (25%) in comparison to their urban counterparts (18%) to meet their healthcare needs. The authors show that a patent has little or no impact in raising the price of essential drugs.

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