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New patent rules boost profits while safe drugs elude the world’s poor, says Oxfam

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 07 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d815
  1. Peter Moszynski
  1. 1London

The proliferation of substandard drugs in poor countries is being used as an excuse to tighten rules on intellectual property, boosting the profits of large drug companies while making it harder for poor people to get access to the treatments they need, the charity Oxfam says in a new report.

The report, launched in Paris this week in association with Interpol and the World Intellectual Property Organization, says that more than two billion people “lack regular access to affordable and quality medicine.” The World Health Organization estimates that 30% of countries have no functioning drug regulatory authorities.

In the absence of effective regulation, says the report, …

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