Visa fullständig version : pharmacy patents

2007-08-11, 08:27
Referring to http://www.piratpartiet.se/an_alternative_to_pharmaceutical_patents, I think one advantage of state regulated pharmaceutical research is forgotten:

Currently pharmaceutical companies, being motivated by profit without political steering, do not research into medicines that are most needed, but into medicines that offer most profit for the least investment.

That is why there are very little fundamental breakthroughts, and so many "me too" medicines, and way too little into new antibiotics against aggressive bacteria or against tuberculosis, malaria etc.

If the state would organize this instead, it could direct research more into those areas that are really necessary instead of into areas with the biggest profit prospects.

Christian Engström
2007-08-11, 10:31
Quite right.

The current patent regime is not only wasteful to the European tax payers and immoral towards the third world. It also leads to most of the money that actually is spent on pharmaceutical research being squandered on projects that have minimal benefits to society even if they are successful.

In an article in the Canadian Medical Association's Journal (http://www.cmaj.ca/cgi/content/full/171/12/1451), senior lecturer at Harvard Medical School Marcia Angell writes:

From 1998 through 2003, 487 drugs were approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Of those, 379 (78%) were classified by the agency as "appear[ing] to have therapeutic qualities similar to those of one or more already marketed drugs," and 333 (68%) weren't even new compounds (what the FDA calls "new molecular entities"), but instead were new formulations or combinations of old ones. Only 67 (14%) of the 487 were actually new compounds considered likely to be improvements over older drugs.(Emphasis added)

Patents on medicines is a very sick system.

2007-08-11, 10:40
bwakker (2007-Aug-11)If the state would organize this instead, it could direct research more into those areas that are really necessary instead of into areas with the biggest profit prospects.

Certainly. However, governments and non-profits already spend lots of money researching these issues, only to find that Big Pharma has little incentive in producing these drugs unless they can patent them and sell them back to the governments at monopoly prices. One way around that would be to do like in Brazil and India where the governments run their own drug factories. Another way would be to somehow further divide the research and production arms of Big Pharma to try and create some kind of competition.

There's an interesting report on the subject here: http://www.piratpartiet.se/referenser/financing_drug_research_what_are_the_issues

An excerpt:

As economic theory predicts, government granted patent monopolies lead not only to deadweight efficiency losses due to the gap between the patent protected price and the competitive market price, but also to a variety of other distortions. Among these distortions are:

1) excessive marketing expenses, as firms seek to pursue the monopoly profits associated with patent protection - data from the industry suggests that marketing costs are currently comparable to the amount of money spent on research;

2) wasted research spending into duplicative drugs - industry data indicates that roughly two thirds of research spending goes to developing duplicative drugs rather than drugs that represent qualitative breakthroughs over existing drugs;

3) the neglect of research that is not likely to lead to patentable drugs;

4) concealing research findings in ways that impede the progress of research, and prevent the medical profession and the public from becoming aware of evidence that some drugs may not be effective, or could even be harmful.