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Pharma Patent Protection or the People's Vaccine

The global race is on to create vaccines and treatments for Covid-19, but who will own the products that are developed? Restrictive patent laws could give pharmaceutical companies sole ownership of any drugs they create, making them prohibitively scarce and expensive when the world can least afford it. Prabir Purkayastha, editor-in-chief of NewsClick, explains how India changed its patent laws, facilitating the development of cheap AIDS drugs in the 90s. Will we learn from the AIDS crisis, or will we let the international patent regime stand in the way of making Covid-19 treatments and vaccines available for everyone? Purkayastha points out that these medications could be cheaply reproduced in India and exported to the rest of the world, "but there must be political will to use them."

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