[ExI] Problem with Pattents

Tom Tobin korpios at korpios.com
Mon Feb 25 20:44:35 UTC 2008

On 2/25/08, Stefano Vaj <stefano.vaj at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Feb 25, 2008 at 5:11 PM, Tom Tobin <korpios at korpios.com> wrote:
>  >  First off, the inventor should consider themselves lucky that they are
>  >  receiving a patent *at all*.
> Just to play the devil's advocate, take the pharma patent. They last
>  the usual 20 years. Yet, the single molecule that arrives on the
>  market, with a more or less wide target, has a commercial life of
>  little more than 10. Moreover, it has to pay in the same period the
>  R&D efforts related to some twenty other molecules that did not go
>  anywhere, or that were never authorised for human consumption. The
>  imitator has just trivial manufacturing costs plus its margins, and
>  can sell generics at less than half the total cost per unit of the
>  developer of a new drug.
>  Who ever would be in a position to get the financing necessary to new
>  drug development with shorter patents, or no patents at all? The
>  current regime is already heavily in favour of multinationals so large
>  and with pocket so deep that can afford a few failures without going
>  bankrupt by working on very high volumes.

I think we're looking at the situation the wrong way.  Instead of "How
can pharma companies recoup their R&D costs?", I'd like to ask "Is
there a better way to enrich the public good regarding medicine?"
Between the questionable efficacy of many medical products and a
laborious FDA approval process, I don't think the current system is a
net gain; I'd rather see slower (and, hopefully, steadier) progress
(with a combination of public financing, cheap generics, and looser
regulations during a "prototype" testing period).  I'd also like to
see *far* more emphasis placed on prevention rather than treatment;
prevention is both cheaper *and* more effective.  A healthy diet and
exercise regimen alone is worth more than the fruit of decades of
research into new drugs.

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