Pharma has developed all sorts of devious tricks to extend the duration of its patent monopoly on older drugs and also works hard to develop new "me too" drugs that provide no advantage to patients, but protect its monopoly pricing power.
There are many serious issues raised by the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but the one that may have the greatest long-term impact is its provisions on drug patents. The explicit purpose is to make patent protection stronger and longer. While these provisions are likely to lead to higher drug prices in the United States, they will have their greatest impact in the developing world. In most developing countries, drugs are far cheaper than in the United States. This is especially the case in India. The country has a world-class generic industry that produces high-quality drugs that typically sell for a small fraction of the price in the United States. The U.S. drug industry desperately wants to eliminate this sort of price gap, which can exceed a ratio of one hundred to one. This should have everyone very worried.
When President Barack Obama lauded the "incredible heroism" of American doctors who travel to countries such as Sierra Leone
Buried under fancy-sounding terms like Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and Special 301 is the real irony that availability of cheap drugs is not just a concern for the poor in an India or a China, but also for the poor back home in the US.
Of course, the official answer from the FDA and Big Pharma is that problems with a drug are only seen when millions begin
The Obama administration and members of Congress are pressing India to curb its generic medication industry.
That study has been widely ridiculed for overstating the impact of intellectual property protections on jobs, claiming that
The costs of protectionism can be large, as economists frequently point out when discussing 20 percent tariffs in steel. For some reason they become strangely silent when it comes to patent protection that raise the price of drugs by 1,000 percent.
But what if you want to incentivize investment in bold new drugs instead of me-too drugs? What if you want to encourage research into new areas that tangibly improve people's health? Then maybe, like India, you would only grant patents when that higher standard is met.
India is actually at the forefront of providing affordable medicine to its citizens, which is a vast improvement over the healthcare system in the US.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the paper. "The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Some say the left should tout the merits of "government." That is a great idea, if the point is to advance the conservatives' agenda. It is astounding how happy liberals are to work for the right by implying that conservatives somehow just want to leave markets to themselves whereas the liberals want to bring in the pointy-headed bureaucrats to tell people what they should do. This view is, of course, nonsense. Pick an issue, any issue, and you will almost invariably find the right actively pushing for a big role for government. However, for conservatives the goal is not ensuring a decent standard of living for the bulk of the population. Rather the goal is ensuring that money is redistributed upward. And, of course, the conservatives are smart enough not to own up to their use of the government.
There are more efficient mechanisms than patent monopolies to finance drug research. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is proposing one such mechanism, a prize system, be adopted to support research on AIDS drugs.
Today, the U.S. government is using negotiations over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement to demand aggressive intellectual property provisions that undermine the Doha Declaration and the safeguarding of public health. These harmful provisions must be removed.
Moreover, a strange practice inflates the cumulative cost of the drug industry's clinical trials:. A CenterWatch study determined
The pharmaceutical companies argue that they need to protect their patents in order to fund the research and development that produces new drugs.