In the recent debates on patents, pharmaceutical prices and access to essential medicines, the critical role of scientists and resources of the public sector and academic institutions involved in medical research have often been overlooked. As one of the scientists behind the development of the medicine ‘imatinib’ (marketed as Glivec by Novartis), which has allowed the effective control of a devastating form of cancer, I have witnessed the vital role that academic researchers and public institutions play in bringing new medicines to the market.
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