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The Market Impacts of Pharmaceutical Product Patents in Developing Countries: Evidence from India

Oct 2014
Discussion Paper
14-005
Mark Duggan, Craig Garthwaite, Aparajita Goyal

In 2005, as the result of a World Trade Organization mandate, India began to implement product patents for pharmaceuticals that were compliant with the 1995 Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). We combine pharmaceutical product sales data for India with a newly gathered dataset of molecule-linked patents issued by the Indian patent office. Exploiting variation in the timing of patent decisions, we estimate that a molecule receiving a patent experienced an average price increase of just 3-6 percent with larger increases for more recently developed molecules and for those produced by just one firm when the patent system began. Our results also show little impact on quantities sold or on the number of pharmaceutical firms operating in the market.