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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Failing Drug Research Model: Can't the NYT Talk About Patents?

Failing Drug Research Model: Can't the NYT Talk About Patents?

Monday, 07 March 2011 04:15

It seems not. A front page NYT article reported on the drop in profits that the drug industry expects over the next year as many of its blockbuster drugs lose patent protection. The article reports that some of the major pharmaceutical companies may cut back their research spending as a result.

The article never discussed the possibility of alternative funding mechanisms. For example, Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel prize winning economist, has advocated a prize fund whereby the government would buy up patents and allow all drugs to be sold at their competitive market price. It is also possible for the government to simply pay for the research up front (it already finances almost half of biomedical research through the National Institutes of Health). This also would allow the vast majority of new drugs to be sold for a few dollars per prescription.

This sort of overview of the pharmaceutical industry would have been an appropriate place to discuss the merits of the current patent system for financing prescription drug research.

Comments (5)Add Comment
written by izzatzo, March 07, 2011 7:47
The article reports that some of the major pharmaceutical companies may cut back their research spending as a result.

This is big commie lie. However since it sponsored by corporations disguised as persons it is perfectly acceptable as a standard of economic efficiency in the USA.
written by neilS, March 07, 2011 11:31
At first I thought that the title of the post was a misprint: Can"t the NYT talk about pat(i)ents?

Isn't the implication that patients will save billions of dollars while receiving the same goods? Sounds like a win win to me.

Also, if drug companies think that the way rto solve the problem of now new drugs is to slow down research, then they are in for an unpleasant surprise.
written by David Bloom, March 07, 2011 5:52
Your alternative approaches to new drug development are great, but the article is not really about that: the "problem" the Times is concerned with is just PhrMa profits. Indeed, their chart shows that drug R&D on the whole has been going up gangbusters; it's just the PhrMa members that are cutting back. In other words it's not a problem at all except for some incompetent CEOs who are presumably hoping to persuade us all to let those patents get extended. The oddest thing of all about this very curious article is in a later paragraph letting us know that PhrMa stocks are a good buy at the moment, with an especially low P-E ratio and high dividends.
respond to threat with threat
written by frankenduf, March 08, 2011 12:22
oh please- this is blackmail rhetoric pure and simple- well, i say the government should fire back- 'ok, we play hardball too- no more ads- all marketing of drugs in public airspace is illegal, due to the unethical nature of marketing drugs like they're lollipops'- no one could then dispute the billions of dollars saved, as the underlying truth here is that the industry pays more on marketing than research anyway
Poor druggers
written by Randy Fritz, March 08, 2011 1:37
No kidding, Dean. There's an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WAY to spin this article, one MUCH MORE sympathetic to those of us who have to TAKE those stupid drugs.
Also: instead of simply resting on their laurels, why haven't these guys been continuing research into cures/helps for "other" conditions no previously studied. I'll tell you why: their entire "research" budgets have been co-opted by their advertising departments.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.