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Home Publications Blogs Beat the Press Problems of Patent Financed Drug Research #43,783, Ignoring Non-Patentable Treatments

Problems of Patent Financed Drug Research #43,783, Ignoring Non-Patentable Treatments

Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:16

In principle we might think that researchers should be examining the most promising options for treating disease. But the patent system only provides incentives to pursue treatments that are expected to lead to a patentable drug. Therefore we may see many potentially effective treatments ignored, as appears to be the case with the cancer treatment featured in this Pro Publica piece.

Comments (3)Add Comment
Where's the Crowding Out Crowd When You Need Them?
written by Last Mover, April 23, 2014 4:50

Sock puppets for the medical industrial complex will never frame the issue this way - as a trade-off between treatments that command extortionist payments per dose compared to non-patent alternatives. They will never admit the former crowds out the latter.

Instead they will claim that resources used to develop patented drugs are over and above that available for alternatives in a phony "let many flowers" bloom context that saves the maximum number of lives with the total resources available.

They will be wrong. Many will die or live a shorter life because of resources lured into producing rent seeking patented drugs and treatments that save fewer lives than the many lives that could have been saved by the same resources used far more productively to produce both kinds of drugs and treatments absent monopoly rent profit.

Any other time the sock puppets would be crowing how government crowds out the private sector, but when it comes to how government patent protection abuse crowds out efficient health care with over the top bloated monopoly profit they conveniently go mute.
written by Downpuppy, April 23, 2014 6:11
Focusing on treatment already gives most of the game away. Dealing with a disease, the preferred options are:
1) Prevention
2) Cure
3) Generic Treatment
4) Patentable treatment

Drug company research is focused on the worst option. Prevention or cure of diabetes, e.g., would destroy Novartis & Synaron.
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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.