I've gotten way behind on my series
of posts on intellectual property. I plan to pick it up again shortly. There's a big post I've been working on that I just haven't had the time to complete. However, one of the upcoming posts in the series is going to focus in on the question of pharmaceutical patents. While some claim that the pharma industry is an example where patents actually work effectively, there's plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise. I'll try to highlight much of that evidence, but it looks like Michael Heller is doing some of that already. Heller, the author of The Gridlock Economy
, which we recently mentioned
has penned a piece for Forbes, where he points out how the rise of patents in the pharma and biotech world is not leading to new cures
. In fact, it's actively stifling them, by making it nearly impossible for certain types of research to be done. This is a point Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has also been making for years
Of course, some will point to some recent medical breakthroughs as evidence to the contrary, but as a New Yorker review of Heller's book
points out, it's often much harder to see "foregone opportunities." But, the more you understand the economics of innovation and growth, the more you see how clearly pharma and biotech patents are stifling lifesaving advancements -- and that's not just a huge shame, it's incredibly destructive to human health, dignity and the wider economy.