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Why don't we get the pharmaceutical industry we deserve? And what we can do about it

Hosted by Global Health Initiative and Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute

Online public event


Graham Dutfield

Professor of International Governance at the School of Law, University of Leeds

Paul Fehlner

Senior Vice President, and Chief Legal Officer at Axcella Health

Burcu Kiliç

Research Director for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Ken Shadlen

Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics

Siva Thambisetty

Associate Professor of Law at the London School of Economics


Professor Uma Suthersanen

Deputy Director, Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute

An event to launch That High Design of Purest Gold: A Critical History of the Pharmaceutical Industry, 1880-2020 by Graham Dutfield. 

For over a century the pharmaceutical industry has delivered amazing products. The stories of how these great medicines have been developed are often remarkable, and sometimes heroic. And yet the industry has rightly been criticised for underperforming, not just for a lack of innovation, but also in failing to make essential medicines available to those who need them at prices they can afford. Recent trends offer mixed signals in this regard. It’s time that we placed the industry under close examination.

In That High Design of Purest Gold, Graham Dutfield conducts such an investigation, tracing the development of the pharmaceutical industry from its emergence in the late nineteenth century to the present day. As such it is a work of history as much as of popular science. In parallel with the industry’s growth is the evolving regulatory system under which it operates. Accordingly, the book provides a diagnosis and ends with a prescription for a better industry whose activities align better with the public interest.

In this book launch symposium, jointly hosted by LSE Global Health Initiative and Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute, Professor Dutfield will be accompanied by four commentators: Dr Paul Fehlner (Axcella Health, formerly of Novartis), Dr Burcu Kilic (Public Citizen), Professor Ken Shadlen (LSE), and Dr Siva Thambisetty (LSE). Professor Uma Suthersanen (QM) will Chair the event.


About the Speakers: 

Graham Dutfield is Professor of International Governance at the School of Law, University of Leeds. Prior to joining University of Leeds, he was the Herchel Smith Senior Research Fellow at CCLS, Queen Mary. He has been teaching on the Global Intellectual Property Law module since 2003. From 2001-2 he served as Academic Director of the ICTSD-UNCTAD Capacity-building Project on Intellectual Property Rights and Development, based in Geneva. He is an Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Studies of Intellectual Property Rights, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, Wuhan, China, and Research Affiliate, Intellectual Property and Technology Program, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto.

Paul Fehlner is Senior Vice President, and Chief Legal Officer at Axcella Health, a US-based biotechnology firm. Previously, Dr. Fehlner spent nine years as the Head of Intellectual Property for Novartis Pharma in Basel, Switzerland. In this role, he was responsible for obtaining, maintaining, and enforcing intellectual property rights while also serving on the corporate and pharmaceutical division legal leadership teams. Dr Fehlner has a JD from Fordham University, and a PhD in Biochemistry and Immunology from Rockefeller University.

Burcu Kiliç is the Research Director for Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program, whose primary goal is to save lives by promoting access to affordable medicine and fostering generic competition to brand-name medicines. Her book Boosting Pharmaceutical Innovation in the Post-TRIPS Era: Real Life Lessons for the Developing World explains the role of intellectual property strategies in pharmaceutical innovation. Dr Kiliç has a Ph.D. from Queen Mary, University of London.

Ken Shadlen is Professor of Development Studies at the London School of Economics. His book, Coalitions and Compliance: The Political Economy of Pharmaceutical Patents in Latin America, analyses differences in how countries introduced pharmaceutical patents in the 1990s and then subsequently revised their new pharmaceutical patent systems in the 2000s. In an ESRC-funded project on the TRIPS Agreement and secondary pharmaceutical patenting, he examines how developing countries’ new pharmaceutical patent systems function in practice. Professor Shadlen has a PhD from University of California, Berkeley

Siva Thambisetty is Associate Professor of Law at the London School of Economics. She has published extensively on intellectual property and health, and emerging technologies such as genomics and synthetic biology. From 2014-19 she was Principal Investigator on a EU Horizon 2020 grant to study the implementation of the Nagoya Project as part of the INMARE project on marine biodiversity. Dr Thambisetty has a DPhil from the University of Oxford.


About the Chair:

Uma Suthersanen holds degrees in law from the National University of Singapore and Queen Mary University of London. She began her scholarly career in Queen Mary as the Herchel Smith Research Fellow followed by the FT Law & Tax Fellowship, before becoming a tenured lecturer in 2001. In 2009, she was conferred a Personal Chair in International Intellectual Property Law at the Centre for Commercial Law Studies. She is currently a Professor in Global Intellectual Property Law (reflecting her deliberately meandering research); the Academic Director, LL.M in Intellectual Property Law programme; and the Deputy Director, Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute.

Uma has authored and edited the following leading texts: Copinger & Skone-James on Copyright (Nicholas Caddick Q.C., Gwilym Harbottle & Uma Suthersanen, 18th Edition); and Dutfield & Suthersanen on Global Intellectual Property Law (Graham Dutfield & Uma Suthersanen, 2nd Edition). She is currently working on a monograph on Copyright and Public Interest: Comparative and Historical Analyses (Gillian Davies & Uma Suthersanen, 3rd edition). She is also the General Editor of Sweet & Maxwell’s European Copyright and Design Reports.


Photo by Ousa Chea on Unsplash

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