Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Dean Baker's piece on 23 Sept 2015 in the New York Times on pharma patents

An op-ed by Dean Baker in the New York Times begins:

The United States stands out among wealthy countries in that we give drug companies patent monopolies on drugs that are essential for people’s health or lives and then allows them to charge whatever they want. Every other wealthy country has some system of price controls or negotiated prices where the government limits the extent to which drug companies can exploit the monopoly it has given them. The result is that we pay roughly twice as much for our drugs as the average for other wealthy countries. This additional cost is not associated with better care; we are just paying more for the same drugs.

Within the Baker piece, one has the text:

Drug companies routinely mislead doctors and the public about the safety and effectiveness of their drugs to increase sales. The cost in terms of bad health outcomes and avoidable deaths runs into the tens of billions of dollars every year.

And Baker talks about giving the NIH money for more research:

We don’t need patent monopolies to support research. We already spend more than $30 billion a year financing research through the National Institutes of Health. Everyone, including the drug companies, agrees that this money is very productive. We could double or triple this spending and replace the patent supported research done by the drug companies. With the research costs paid upfront, most drugs would be available for the same price as a bottle of generic aspirin.

link to Baker piece:

** IPBiz talked earlier about Baker's ideas in the post The debate about the proposed IPR carve-out for pharma patents , including the text:

One notes that the bulk of money to bring a drug to market is in running the trials, not in getting a patent on the drug.

Baker received his B.A. from Swarthmore College and his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Michigan.


The matter of running trials has taken on new meaning following PTAB's denial of the IPR petition on Tecfidera.


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