Matt Buchanan at Promote the Progress has an article on some clues about the direction in which patent reform will move once the 110th Congress convenes. Senator Leahy, the incoming chair of the Judiciary Committee, wants patent reform to include efforts “to increase access to essential medicines throughout the world” saying he intends “to redouble efforts to re-examine our patent laws in the hope that by making thoughtful and practical changes we can greatly increase access to essential medicines throughout the world.”

According to Leahy:

“We can help struggling families in developing nations, while improving US relations with large segments of the world’s population…The current global health crisis is one of the great callings of our time. Whether it is the Avian Flu, AIDS, SARS, West Nile Virus, or the approaching menace of multi-drug resistant bacteria, we need to recognize that the health of those half-way around the world now influences our security and affects our lives here in the United States….I want the work of the Judiciary Committee to be a catalyst to help make life-saving medicines more readily available around the world.”

Apparently, having the developed nations collectively help pay for such life-saving medicines by spreading the burden across all segments of society instead of asking pharmaceutical companies to foot the bill didn’t come up. I wonder if we’ll see a call to increased access to “life-saving software”?

Read the full article on Leahy’s comments at Intellectual Property Watch.

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