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Pharmaceutical R&D for Low-Income Countries

Has the current portfolio of public, non-profit and private sector research initiatives, together with the extension of stronger intellectual property rights, been associated with any discernible change in broad based measures of R&D activity targeted at poor country markets? This paper is a follow-up to a 2001 baseline study of existing and historical R&D patterns and it revisits and updates the statistical series and reports on a second wave of R&D activity by Indian pharmaceutical firms. Taken as a whole, the various data sources examined in the paper point to a steady increase in pharmaceutical inventive activity in some areas of specific interest to developing countries. The set of diseases still in need of better low-cost treatments has seen a trend increase in its share of patenting and bibliometric citation. While overall investment in pharmaceutical R&D in India surged over the past five years, it became less targeted towards the health needs of the developing world.

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