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Response to the danger of intellectual property

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:00 GMT

Author: Arachu Castro
Position: Assistant Professor of Social Medicine
Institution: Harvard Medical School
Additional Authors: Michael Westerhaus
Submitted Date: October 17, 2006
Published Date: October 18, 2006
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

We would like to thank Richard Stallman for emphasizing the distinction between intellectual property law and patent law, which was not fully elucidated in our article ("How Do Intellectual Property Law and International Trade Agreements Affect Access to Antiretroviral Therapy?"). However, we don't feel that such distinction detracts from our overall argument that restrictions placed on medicines in the name of protecting "intellectual property" hurt efforts to expand access to essential medicines throughout the world. It is not so much the specific distinctions between patenting and intellectual property that interest us, but general acceptance of the principle that life-saving medicines can be "owed" and kept from those most afflicted by disease - often living in poverty - based on this concept of ownership.

No competing interests declared.