National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Old fashioned medicine bottle; Flickr image by dgroth

As arguably the most important funder of domestic research and development (R&D), the U.S. government could play a huge role in improving access to medicine through creating opportunities for technology transfer to promote competition, and by implementing more progressive innovation policy.

Together, the National Institutes of Health are the world's leading funder of medical research and development. But most publicly-funded inventions are later commercialized exclusively by companies at a high monopolist price. Public Citizen and a coalition of health and humanitarian organizations are asking NIH to exercise its rights to license the medical technologies it supports to international organizations, to facilitate humanitarian use, competition, and expand access to medicines.

Learn more about humanitarian licensing

March 31, 2014 - Public Citizen's Global Access to Medicines Program letter to the editor of the New York Times: How Public Research Underpins Private Health Care (links to

March, 2013 - Knowledge Ecology International: US government rights in patents: 2010-2012 (links to

November 2, 2012 - Nature: NIH asked to grant open license on HIV drug (links to

November 19, 2010 - Comments on USPTO Proposal for Incentivizing Humanitarian Licensing of Patented Technologies, Joint Submission with Medicins Sans Frontieres, Oxfam America and Knowledge Ecology International

October 24, 2007 - Testimony of Robert Weissman, "The Role of Federally-Funded University Research in the Patent System" Before the Committee on the Judiciary

March 17, 2000 -  DHHS Secretary Donna Shalala to Representative Jan Schakowsky on WHO access to Federally Funded Patent Rights (links to

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