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Against Monopoly

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Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.





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Speeding medical progress: better coordination or less IP?

The PBS Newshour last night had a interesting take on medical research: that the problem slowing medical progress is the failure to coordinate research and development, producing lots of research to very little effect. To many of us, the problem is more likely with the IP laws and the commercial advantage that exclusive IP rights give. The program did not examine those issues and had it done so, its point would have been greatly reduced. As things are, drug firms have a strong motive to slow innovation. You can see the video and read the transcipt here.

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The problem with medical research may be far more complex than the issue of IP or even the coordination of research. We may have reached a point of "Diminishing Returns". That is the easy research leading to easy solutions has been accomplished. Now we may be spending massive amounts of money for only small incremental improvements. In fact we may even be spending money on research were no solution will ever be found. Of course I need to immediately state that there is nothing wrong with conducting research since the pursuit of knowledge will always be beneficial even if no solution is ever found.

As for your position that "drug firms have a strong motive to slow innovation", I would agree. A better way to state this may be in terms of a product cycle. The introduction of new drugs is keyed to when the patent on the existing old drugs expire. After all, why cannibalize your existing market for a particular drug.

In terms of coordinating research, universities, I believe, used to institutions conducting research for the benefit of (worldwide) society in general. The Bayh-Dole Act bastardized university research. I might as well throw in this off-the-point opinion that university athletic (football) programs that have become "big business" are another abomination bastardizing the university experience.

You have a typo in your title!

In fact we may even be spending money on research were no solution will ever be found.

Don't be ridiculous -- if it's a disease of human biology, molecular nanotechnology can cure it even if nothing else can.

Dream on. Technology has limits. But we do have to test those limits!
Steve R. writes:

[calls me a liar]

What?!

No! None of the nasty things that you have said or implied about me are at all true.

Ad hominem
Steve:

I believe you have called that one quite appropriately.

Yes indeedy, calling me a liar was an ad hominem. Now that you've admitted it, perhaps you will now furnish a more rational argument to support your side?

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