Surprise, Surprise: Pharma Abusing IP Laws To Prevent Competition
from the live-by-ip... dept
The deeper and deeper you look into the pharmaceutical market and the way those firms use patents, the worse and worse it looks. There’s little evidence that pharmaceutical companies really need the kind of exclusivity that patents provide, but it’s become so established an idea, that some actually believe that pharma would disappear without patents. However, the truth is quite different. The chemistry industry — the precursor to the pharma industry — actually fought against patents in the early days, knowing that robust competition was what drove innovation and profits. Patents only allowed the leaders to stomp out competition and limit the overall market, increasing their own profits, but slowing innovation and product development.
Thus it should come as no surprise at all that a new report has found that pharmaceutical companies are regularly abusing patents for anti-competitive purposes (thanks Rob Hyndman for the link):
Pharmaceutical companies are manipulating the intellectual property rights system and are “actively trying to delay the entry of generic medicines onto their markets,” a top EU official said of an EU inquiry into the pharmaceutical sector released Wednesday. As a result, there has been a decline in the number of innovative medicines getting to the market, it says.
In other words, contrary to the popular myth, patents are actually being used to hold back innovation in the healthcare market.