The pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has asked UK prime minister Tony Blair for patent concessions and tax credits in return for researching drugs for developing countries. The company urged Blair to raise these issues at the UK-led G8 summit next year as part of Britain's focus on healthcare problems in Africa.
According to GlaxoSmithKline's proposal, the creation of drugs for developing world diseases could be rewarded by extending patent-protection on medicines used in rich countries.
Non-governmental organisations are not convinced that this proposal is in everyone's interest, however. Oxfam's senior policy advisor Michael Bailey said patent laws should not be changed because of pressure from industry.