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February 20, 2002

Do Patents Prevent Access to Drugs for HIV in Developing Countries?

Author Affiliations

Stephen J.LurieMD, PhDIndividualAuthor


Copyright 2002 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2002

JAMA. 2002;287(7):840-843. doi:10.1001/jama.287.7.839

To the Editor: In their Special Communication, Dr Attaran and Mr Gillespie-White1 argue that patents do not prevent Africans infected with human immunodeficiency virus from receiving antiretroviral treatment. Their research shows that most AIDS medications are patented in few African countries and that only a few AIDS drugs are patented in most African countries. They also argue that most currently unpatented drugs will remain unpatented because application deadlines have passed and that lack of access to treatment does not correlate with patent frequency in African countries. They conclude that patents are not major barriers to access to AIDS medication in Africa and that AIDS activists should work to alleviate poverty rather than attack intellectual property rights.

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