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[News] Huffington Post on Killing Patents for Ethical Gains

  • Subject: [News] Huffington Post on Killing Patents for Ethical Gains
  • From: Roy Schestowitz <newsgroups@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 17 Sep 2009 18:49:15 +0100
  • Followup-to: comp.os.linux.advocacy
  • Newsgroups: comp.os.linux.advocacy
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Save the Whales! Abolish Patents!

,----[ Quote ]
| But, perhaps, without all those extra monopoly profits we 
| wouldn't have such great new products? The fact is there aren't 
| so many great new products - a well known fact among health 
| economists is that while big pharma's spending has soared the 
| last decade, as patent control has tightened, drug discovery has 
| plummeted. Pharmaceutical innovation is not lower in Europe, 
| despite of big pharma's lower monopoly profits. While the market 
| for pharmaceuticals is now largely a global one, so local rules 
| may not be so important, this was less true in the past. 
| Historically, before pharmaceutical patents were introduced in 
| Italy in 1978, that country accounted for about 8% of new 
| pharmaceutical discoveries worldwide. After the industry was 
| strangled by patents, that percentage dropped to practically 
| zero. Switzerland, a powerhouse in the world drug industry, 
| introduced pharmaceutical patents at about the same time. While 
| Switzerland's fall has not been as dramatic as Italy's, it too is 
| much less of a powerhouse today than it was before 1977.
| Patents do not seem to lead to the innovation their proponents 
| claim. The list of examples goes on and on: the discovery of the 
| one-dose HIV cocktail that replaced the complicated multi-pill 
| regime? That took place in India a country that at that time did 
| not allow pharmaceutical patents. Of the fifteen great medical 
| milestones recently identified by the British Medical Journal - 
| only two were patented or could be attributed to the "incentive" 
| that patents supposedly provide. Numerous technical studies by 
| economists of the effect of stronger patents on innovation have 
| failed to find any consistent increase. Put it plainly: while the 
| social gains from abolishing patents on drugs are obvious and 
| computable, the losses are dubious and, on the basis of empirical 
| evidence, probably nil.
| Pharmaceutical patents and the resulting monopolies have many 
| other corrosive effects, over and above raising the prices of 
| prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies spend far more money 
| promoting their products than on R&D. Some of the giants spend as 
| much as four times on marketing as they do on research and 
| development. How do these companies market their products? Most 
| of the money goes to "scientifically convincing" the medical 
| profession to prescribe patented products. How? Well, for 
| example, by inviting doctors and their families to week-long 
| conferences in exclusive resorts, where two hours are for a 
| marketing presentation (the "medical symposium") and the rest for 
| (all-included) leisure. A spectacular - but hardly unique - 
| example of the level of corruption is the conviction of Pfizer 
| for encouraging doctors to bill the government for drugs they 
| were provided for free. These practices not only raise the cost 
| of drugs, but corrode trust in the medical profession.


Want Healthcare Reform That Works? Get Rid Of Patents



India Prepares EU Trade Complaint

,----[ Quote ]
| India plans to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization alleging
| that the European Union allowed big pharmaceutical companies to use the
| bloc's tough patent laws to have national customs agencies detain generic
| drugs in transit to developing countries, according to India's commerce
| secretary.


Big Pharma Abusing Patent Laws To Seize And Destroy Legal Indian Generic Drugs


A Fine Kettle of Pfizer Fish

,----[ Quote ]
| Here's a fine kettle of fish. Pfizer's lawyers hired a detective who ended up
| intimidating a witness the day before he was due to testify...


Harnessing the Crowd to Make Better Drugs: Merckâs Friend Nails Down $5M to
Propel New Open Source Era

,----[ Quote ]
| Sage is built on the premise that vast networks of genes get perturbed, or
| thrown off-kilter, in complex diseases like cancer, diabetes, and obesity.
| Scientists canât just pick one faulty gene or protein and make a magic bullet
| to shut it down. But what if researchers around the world capturing genomic
| profiles on patients could get all of their data to talk to each other
| through a free, open database? A researcher in Seattle looking at how all
| 35,000 genes in breast cancer patients are dialed on or off at a certain
| stage of illness might be able to make critical comparisons by stacking
| results up against a deeper and broader data pool that integrates clinical,
| genetic, and other molecular data from peers in, say, San Francisco, New
| Haven, CT, or anywhere else.


Academic Astroturfing for Medical Profits

,----[ Quote ]
| JAMA has a rather scathing editorial condemning what is apparently the
| practice of ghostwriting and appending known specialists names as lead
| authors in studies that are then used to promote pharmaceuticals and medical
| devices.

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