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International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations

  • Intellectual Property Rights are a key incentive for innovators to recoup their significant R&D investments
  • Effective intellectual property systems include the protection of patents, trademarks and proprietary data


Innovation is vital in addressing global health needs and the research-based biopharmaceutical industry is fully committed to developing new and more effective medicines. Intellectual property rights in both developed and emerging developing countries, supported by sound government regulatory processes and health care financing, are key enabling factors for industry’s research and development efforts - its primary contribution to public health. Without these enabling conditions, industry could neither provide innovative medicines nor be able to support partnership initiatives in developing countries . Effective intellectual property systems - including protection of patents, trademarks and proprietary data - are critical for stimulating R&D. They provide some assurance that, if a new medicine is successfully approved, the innovator has a chance to generate revenues sufficient to justify the investments in R&D and so ensure sustainable innovation into the future. The vast majority of medicines available today would not exist without the incentive provided by intellectual property rights.

Thus, the research-based industry supports the strengthening of intellectual property rights in both industrialized and emerging developing countries in order to encourage and manage further innovation. As noted by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, “Intellectual property protection is key to bringing forward new medicines, vaccines and diagnostics urgently needed for the health of the world’s poorest people.” A significant number of developed and emerging developing countries have progressed in improving their level of protection for intellectual property rights in the past two decades, and industry encourages this positive trend for innovation and patient access to new medicines.