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Independent research for global prosperity

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Tripping Over Health: U.S. Policy on Patents and Drug Access in Developing Countries (White House and the World Policy Brief)

11/4/08
Kimberly Elliott and Carsten Fink
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This White House and the World Policy Brief presents key facts and recommendations drawn from Chapter Eight of The White House and the World: A Global Development Agenda for the Next U.S. President.

The United States can play an important role inpromoting global development while simultaneously advancingAmerican interests and prosperity. Intellectual property (IP) rights, such as patents andcopyrights, provide protection against unauthorized copying andare therefore fundamental to creating a policy environmentconducive for innovation. But thisprotection creates challenges for developing countries by limiting access to needed products and by misaligningincentives for innovation. The next U.S. president should come down clearly in favor of a newpolicy that better balances public health needs in developingcountries with private incentives for innovative activities.