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Healthcare innovation and patent law’s ‘pharmaceutical privilege’: is there a pharmaceutical privilege? And if so, should we remove it?

  • Graham Dutfield (a1)

This article reviews current trends in patent claims regarding personalised, stratified and precision medicine. These trends are not particularly well understood by policymakers, even less by the public, and are quite recent. Consequently, their implications for the public interest have hardly been thought out. Some see personalised and other secondary drug patent claims as promoting better targeted treatment. Others are inclined to see them as \manifestations of ‘evergreening’ whereby companies are, in some cases quite cynically, trying to extend market monopolies in old products or creating new monopolies based on supposedly improved versions of such earlier drugs. The article claims that the relaxation of ‘novelty’ is a privilege unavailable to inventions in other fields and that on balance the patent system does privilege this industry and that no adequate case has yet been made thus far to prove the public benefits overall.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence to: Graham Dutfield, School of Law, University of Leeds LS2 9JT, UK. Email:
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Health Economics, Policy and Law
  • ISSN: 1744-1331
  • EISSN: 1744-134X
  • URL: /core/journals/health-economics-policy-and-law
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