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Huge inequalities in access to drugs partly because of intellectual property rights, says UN expert

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 10 June 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b2348
  1. John Zarocostas
  1. 1Geneva

    Nearly two billion people lack access to essential drugs partly because of how intellectual property rights are interpreted, says a report by a United Nations independent expert.

    Improving access to drugs “could save 10 million lives a year, four million in Africa and South East Asia,” says the author, Anand Grover, UN special rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health.

    The report presented to the 47 member state UN Human Rights Commission on 2-3 June concludes that “diseases of poverty,” such as communicable, perinatal, and nutritional diseases, still account for half of the disease burden in poor countries, which is nearly 10 times higher than the proportion in rich nations.

    It also claims that 100 million people fall into poverty every year worldwide because they have to pay for health care.

    Mr Grover says that because laws that cover intellectual property rights affect the affordability …

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