9:30—10:45 AM ET / 2:30-3:45 PM BST

Debate: Do Patents Promote Health Innovation in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?

•    Carlos Correa, Executive Director, South Centre
•    Adrian Towse, Emeritus Director and Senior Research Fellow, Office of Health Economics 
•    Anita McGahan, University Professor and George E. Connell Chair in Organizations and Society, University of Toronto
•    Cassandra Sweet, Senior Consultant, United Nations

•    Javier Guzman, Director of Global Health Policy and Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

Innovative health technologies are needed to address today’s disease burden and tomorrow’s emerging health threats—and the role of intellectual property (IP) protections in spurring innovation is contested. Since the World Trade Organization implemented the Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights policy in 1995, health experts and economists have taken two opposing stances: many argue that patents incentivize research and development for drugs needed around the world, while others argue that IP protections disadvantage lower-income countries through the premium costs of innovator products. As a recent example, the fraught debate concerning patents for COVID-19 vaccines highlighted the tension between incentivizing innovation through IP protections and ensuring equitable access to critical medicines. Theoretical arguments about the promises and dangers of IP protections have largely led the debate; however, with 28 years of experience in the books, the empirical evidence must take the stage.

Join the Center for Global Development for a virtual debate on whether IP protections improve health innovation in low- and middle-income countries. Speakers will defend their position with evidence, highlighting the track record of IP protections and making the case for or against using them to promote innovation that benefits low- and middle-income countries going forward.


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