Public attention and debate recently have focused on access to treatment
of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in poor, severely affected countries,
such as those in Africa. Whether patents on antiretroviral drugs in Africa
are impeding access to lifesaving treatment for the 25 million Africans with
human immunodeficiency virus infection is unknown. We studied the patent statuses
of 15 antiretroviral drugs in 53 African countries. Using a survey method,
we found that these antiretroviral drugs are patented in few African countries
(median, 3; mode, 0) and that in countries where antiretroviral drug patents
exist, generally only a small subset of antiretroviral drugs are patented
(median and mode, 4). The observed scarcity of patents cannot be simply explained
by a lack of patent laws because most African countries have offered patent
protection for pharmaceuticals for many years. Furthermore, in this particular
case, geographic patent coverage does not appear to correlate with antiretroviral
treatment access in Africa, suggesting that patents and patent law are not
a major barrier to treatment access in and of themselves. We conclude that
a variety of de facto barriers are more responsible for impeding access to
antiretroviral treatment, including but not limited to the poverty of African
countries, the high cost of antiretroviral treatment, national regulatory
requirements for medicines, tariffs and sales taxes, and, above all, a lack
of sufficient international financial aid to fund antiretroviral treatment.
We consider these findings in light of policies for enhancing antiretroviral
treatment access in poor countries.
Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.
Download citation file:
Web of Science® Times Cited: 86
Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.
More Listings atJAMACareerCenter.com >
Care at the Close of Life EDUCATION GUIDES
Overcoming the False Dichotomy of Curative vs Palliative Care for Late-Stage HIV/AIDS
All results at
Enter your username and email address. We'll send you a link to reset your password.
Enter your username and email address. We'll send instructions on how to reset your password to the email address we have on record.
Athens and Shibboleth are access management services that provide single sign-on to protected resources. They replace the multiple user names and passwords necessary to access subscription-based content with a single user name and password that can be entered once per session. It operates independently of a user's location or IP address. If your institution uses Athens or Shibboleth authentication, please contact your site administrator to receive your user name and password.