"Statistical Trends in Pharmaceutical Research for Poor Countries"
Jean Lanjouw, University of California at Berkeley
Margaret MacLeod of the University of Delhi
Although the efforts of the TRIPS agreement have been deeply unpopular with poor country governments and their advocates, there have been plausible arguments made that it could in some ways work to the benefit of the poor. Most importantly, it was argued that introducing patent rights in developing country markets might stimulate greater R&D investment targeting their specific health needs – areas long neglected. This paper examines this argument using statistical data and survey evidence. We identify a set of diseases where 99% of the burden is estimated to fall in lower income countries. The study also examines trends in indicators of R&D activity. These include grants dispersed by the NIAID as an indirect measure of the direction of pharmaceutical researchers’ interests; trends in citations to the biomedical literature, which should be a relatively early indicator of R&D activity; and patenting in the United States – the most direct signal of commercial interest in an area of research