Intellectual property management has traditionally been a large component of business strategy for pharmaceutical companies. However, the nature of the industry often introduces unique issues regarding the complicated relationship between business interests and the ethics of providing quality healthcare.
This week, an ongoing dispute over Johnson & Johnson intellectual assets has encapsulated the complexity of the matter. According to the Financial Times, the company has declined to license the patent rights to several HIV medicines that may help generic drug companies advance research in the field and increase the availability of treatment. However, Johnson & Johnson contends that such a move could dilute scientific progress.
"We want the right therapy at the right time," officials told the news source. "We will not get there by leasing our intellectual property to all companies, throwing our drugs on the market without any guidance or control."
The pharmaceutical company has faced a wave of criticism, according to the Times, with the Medicine Patents Pool suggesting that it made a "conscious, willful decision to turn its back on people living with HIV in the developing world."
The HIV research advocacy group has previously received support for its work from the World Health Organization, among others, and is hoping to add to its portfolio of collaborators in the pharmaceuticals industry.