The 2011 Varsity Medical Debate, between Oxford and Cambridge Universities, brought students and faculty together to discuss the waiving of patents for antiretroviral therapies in the developing world. With an estimated 29.5 million infected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) in low- and middle-income countries and only 5.3 million of those being treated, the effective and equitable distribution of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is an issue of great importance. The debate centred around three areas of contention. Firstly, there was disagreement about whether patents were the real barrier to the access of anti-retroviral therapy in the developing world. Secondly, there were differing views on the effectiveness of a patent pool. Thirdly, concerns were raised over the impact of waiving patents on research to produce new and better anti retro-viral drugs
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