Citation: Castro A, Westerhaus M (2006) Intellectual Property and Access to ART: Authors' Reply. PLoS Med 3(11): e510. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0030510
Published: November 28, 2006
Copyright: © 2006 Castro and Westerhaus. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The authors received no specific funding for this article.
Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
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 this 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 “owned” and kept from those most afflicted by disease—often living in poverty—based on this concept of ownership.