Patents and Pharmaceutical Drug

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This is known as antiretroviral drugs. Antiretroviral drugs inhibit the reproduction of retroviruses-viruses composed of RNA rather than DNA. The best known of this group is HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus, the causative agent of AIDS. Antiretroviral agents are virustatic agents which block steps in the replication of the virus. The drugs are not curative. however continued use of drugs, particularly in multi-drug regimens, significantly slows disease progression. (Antiretroviral drugs)CENTRAL PROBLEMCurrently, there are issues which emerge on the effect of patents to access antiretroviral drugs for the 25 million Africans infected with HIV. According to Attaran and Gillespie-White (2001) patent protection for AIDS drugs – blamed by some activists for restricting access to medication needed in the African AIDS epidemic – actually has little effect on the distribution of the drugs on that continent. They averred that there is no apparent correlation between access to antiretroviral treatment, which is uniformly poor across Africa, and patent status, which varies extensively by country and drug,AREAS FOR IMPROVEMENTThe areas to closely look into are the effects of the patent for drugs. Researches indicate that patents cause drug prices to increase and prevent the manufacture of cheaper generics. In addition, there is a general consensus that patents on pharmaceutical drugs provide a very strong economic incentive for research. (Siddiqi 2005) However, as indicated an optimal balance should be struck between the benefits to society from increased innovation and the costs of paying the patent derived price.ETHICAL PRINCIPLE TO ADDRESS PROBLEM Ethically we can start by asking rather simple questions, is the principle of beneficence, or loving good, served more by having research than by not having research, and do we encourage more research into more beneficial areas of science by the incentive system of patents than we would by not having patents? Ethical principles such as justice and doing no harm are served by systems of intellectual property protection. Ethically can anyone own a product of their mind, a product of nature, a product of a designed process, a discovery or even an invention? (Macer 2000) These principles would help address the issues surrounding patents for scientific researches involving the development of drugs which would be beneficial to mankind. Patenting actually promotes inappropriate human control over information that is common heritage. The benefits should be in terms of general medical or agricultural development, rather than the economic prosperity of one company or country over another.MEANS TO MEASURE POTENTIAL RESULTSAttaran and Gillespie-White identified that the culprit is the lack of AIDS drugs on the African continent is the low level of aid provided by developed countries and calls on the developed world to respond to the situation rapidly. The World Health Organization, as a governing body for major health issues on a global scale should be able to address the balancing factors between public interest and private property rights. Despite the enactment of the law enabling South Africa to import or manufacture much-needed AIDS medicines at substantially lower costs than usually available, still, the controversial drug could not be afforded by the public. It is at this point that WHO, together with the governing bodies in South Africa, and the rich western nations, should join hands and act on legislation to ensure that these drugs benefit those who need them.