Studies have shown that better health outcomes are reached with increased trade openness and human development, particularly in lower-income countries. To facilitate international trade and catalyse economic growth, countries should promote robust intellectual property rights (IPR). A strong and effective IPR system will support, protect and stimulate innovation. It will also encourage transfers of technology and increase the availability of products in new markets.
The link between IPR protection and drug affordability is controversial. The price of medicine is strongly influenced by the considerable amounts of money that is invested by pharmaceutical companies into the development of new treatments, the majority of which fail. Generics have an important role to play in adjusting price mechanisms but are sometimes an unreliable substitute. A number of developing countries have argued that IPR can hamper their ability to intervene in public health matters and decrease accessibility, but this paper suggest that steps can be taken to mitigate these concerns.