This article explores whether the current patent system strikes the optimal balance between providing incentives to inventors to bring new medical devices to the marketplace and promoting public health by ensuring that these medical devices are widely available at a reasonable price. After providing an overview of the relationship of patent law to medical devices, the author explains how ethical and economic considerations suggest the need for an alternative patent system for medical devices and notes the difficulties with this proposal. The author concludes that a combination of alternatives to the current system most equitably account for the interests and needs of both healthcare device consumers and producers.

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