Thursday, October 16, 2008

"Patents: a recipe for problems?"

On page 38 of the 3 Oct. 2008 issue of the journal Science, one finds an article titled "Patents: a recipe for problems?". concerning the patented product Plumpy'Nut. [322 Science 38]

Plumpy'nut is what is called a "ready-to-use-food" [RUTF] and Nutriset, along with the French government, own patents to Plumpy'nut, in countries in Europe, North America, and 30 African countries, which will last till 2018. Plumpy'nut is used to treat severe malnutrition. One Plumpy'nut serving of 92 grams has 500 calories and a great deal of protein.

The Science article notes that "MSF and UNICEF, another big buyer, acknowledge that so far there have no shortages nor evidence of price gouging. Nor is the patent valid in many malnutrition hot spots, including India, where [competitor] Compact is building a factory and several other companies are interest as well." [IPBiz notes that author Martin Enserink does not seem to understand there has to be a patent in each country.]


A letter to the editor (from Elias Zerhouni) "Protecting Aggregate Genomic Data," which discusses NIH's GWAS website.

A different letter which states: The goals of the pharmaceutical industry and academia are very different. Industry scientists are focused on discovering a highly specific and potent compound that can benefit human health. Academic scientists focus on finding compounds that can reveal novel cellular mechanisms, a basic tenet in chemical biology. There is also mention of "America Competes Act," PL 110-69.

There is a book review of "Physics for Future Presidents." The review notes: "And if Gore has exaggerated or selectively presented data to further an agenda, that is a common problem in public life that cannot be remedied by a book such as Muller's."

At page 49, one has "Sustainable Biofuels Redux." There is discussion of cellulosic biofuels.

An article "Surface-modified carbon nanotubes catalyze oxidative dehydrogrenation of butane" starts at page 73, and lists Robert Schlogl as one of the co-authors. References 15, 18, and 21 are citations to articles in Carbon.


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