Gilead Sciences made $3 billion selling the drug, used to prevent the spread of HIV, last year.
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.
But the recent executive branch acclaim for Doctors Without Borders obscures a long-running struggle between the humanitarian
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.
Have you ever noticed how warnings about dangerous prescription drug always seem to surface after the drug is no longer marketed
The Obama administration and members of Congress are pressing India to curb its generic medication industry.
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) also extolled the importance of access to inexpensive medications for PEPFAR, which has seen
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.