View Full Version : Intellectual Property Rights
Who do you guys think should fund research on medicines that pharmaceutical companies currently make due to copyright and patent laws that enable them to monopolize the market for 25 years? Is it right that these pharmaceutical companies charge 25 dollars a pill that can be made for 1 dollar and prevent people in countries in poverty from having the purchasing power to get them? The counterargument to people against these patents is that without patents, incentive would be lost to create these drugs, as it approximately costs 500 million per new drug that hits the market. Do you guys think government should fund all pharmaceutical research, or that the way we do it currently is fine, or something in between?
02-15-2007, 06:52 AM
Is it right that these pharmaceutical companies charge 25 dollars a pill that can be made for 1 dollar and prevent people in countries in poverty from having the purchasing power to get them?
You gotta remember though, as medicine evolves, so does the diseases/bug/virus and if they did charge 1 dollar for every drug, they would soon face the problem of not being able to fund their research into preventing the new diseases. All in all, everyone would be "cured" for the time being, but it would then come back to bite us in the ass.
If they charged 1 dollar for the drug, according to pharmaceutical spokesmen, the drugs probably wouldn't exist in the first place because there would be no profit incentive to make them. Companies in India and Brazil break US patent and make these drugs to sell to their populations, making them accessible at a very low price, however lawsuits abound in these situations.
02-15-2007, 11:00 AM
The problem is exally caused by this economical money-system. Basicly, it seems to work: someone makes a product and receives money by seling it. But: what happens with services: nurses, firemans... They are doing things everyone schould receive(can you let someone burn), and often for the poor, who can't pay them so much. Today they are (partly) payed by the government. But still they don't earn what they schould earn. Intellectual property is kind of the same problem. Copyright is contra-productive, because someone often creates a better product starting from an old idea. Knowledge isn't a product, with only the rich have the right to have it. But still, the one who invent something, also have worked, so has a right for money/products. So, in this system it's the most logic to discard copyrights and intellectual property, and finance the makers by the government.
It might be clear that the government schould finance a lot of things then, plus the government still won't pay what they earn according to the amount of work they do(which is logic, they can't pay everything). The problem is you're not payed according to the hours of work you make, but mostly according to the need for the product and the finacial situation of your buyers. That's also why medicines are so expensive, because a lot of people really need them.
That's why I think a free-gift society schould be the best.
Another reformist solution is paying a part of the costs of people in countries in poverty. But then you still let the farma-industry have huge profits. Just funding them without discarding intellectual property, also sponsors a company who only cares about money, not about human lifes. Would the price exally decrease then, don't they just try to make as much profit as possible, so try to get a price that is high enough, but not too high so that no-one buys it anymore.
From what I've read, I believe that the profits of the pharmaceutical companies in the USA are 90% generated within the borders of the USA, so in reality, they could charge super cheap prices to Africans (who still couldn't afford it) and still make most of their profits, however they still feel it undermines their rights.
02-16-2007, 05:12 AM
For God's sake, spare us your anarchy talk in THIS thread at least.
How is copyright contra-productive? It may be in certain cases, but otherwise it's the fair retribution put in place in order to actually bolster fair competition. If your ideas aren't protected, where do you get your profit margin from in lots of industries? Since obviously, your followers will find out how to make your product/service better at a lower production cost.
You've exally answered your own question: without copyright, products will get better, because "your followers will find out how to make your product/service better at a lower production cost". So in that way, it's contra-productive, it devaluate the evolution of products, you're society will have better products without copyright.
I admid there are problems coming with that. The inventors schould be payed. That's the same problem as others who schould be payed and still doesn't make products. That's right now solved by the government, so why not here (btw, it's really a reformist solution, and it doesn't solve all the problems comming up with this capitalist system, but that's too much anarchism to solve that probably).
You still has fair competition then, because the concurrention still has to find a way to improve your product to make profit from it. With copyright, you get a monopoly of your product, is that fair competition?
02-16-2007, 10:38 AM
Of course, it is. Why do you think copyrights exist in the first place? Why do you think patents can be created? If the inventor, if the entrepreneur doesn't get some interest on his investment (the ROI) why should he invest at all? If he can't be assured that his invention/innnovation will remain his for some time, & that he will get a certain profit margin... I don't see why he should take the trouble to invest at all. Be realistic. Profit only exists because competition isn't perfect. But it's the one reason firms are competing at all. In a perfectly competitive market, there wouldn't be any margins, there wouldn't be oligopoles, & customers would readily get all the info they need. In a perfectly competitive market, there wouldn't be any competition at all, because nobody would want to compete, knowing there would be nothing to gain from it.
This is the ABC of market law, a wonder I should have to make it explicit to you.
The invest still creates profit for some time, because the concurrent won't find an improval, or even just the way the product is produced, from the beginning. The trouble a company has to find an innovation, would be taken away by the government(ie the costs will be payed). But really, never trully understood this system, because it's so strange. I only understand what the result is: the rich become more rich, and the poor poorer. I don't understand the reasons they invent to justifice why they need that money etc. Profit is exally just thief: it's the money you didn't need to pay all the costs, and that's the normal price a product schould have.
02-16-2007, 10:39 AM
Alright, first off let me deal with all the interesting issues NOAMR raised challenging our assumptions about how society should function: NOAMR, you're an idiot. Discussion over.
Now back to the actual discussion, it's perfectly possible for a two-tiered system to emerge. First off, pharmaceutical companies need a patent in order to make back the millions they spend on research and development. However, at this point the patents are too restrictive, as evident by the extremely large profit margins the companies are making off of the sick. I don't know nearly enough about the industry to have an informed opinion on how to deal with the problem in America (not that that's stopped me before), but I have heard an interesting solution for dealing with the lack of available health care in the third world.
It's possible for the pharmaceutical companies to sell their product to two different markets - one as a profit-making enterprise designed to recoup R&D costs and the other more of a service-based enterprise aimed at only covering the costs involved in getting the drug to the market. To this end, wealthy countries in the first world could sell the drug at high costs while generic versions of the drug make it to the third world. It's a scheme that could conceivably work (it's partly how airlines operate - business class pays the profits, you pay [providing you booked your ticket sufficiently in advance] for little more than the fuel you eat up getting from A to B). However, it generally leads to whining all around. Conservatives see it as welfare, liberals see it as ripping off the poor and needy at home and everyone gets angry that foreigners are getting the stuff cheaper.
Plus, the government already funds certain research, as do universities. Were the government to take over all research, the situation would almost certainly be worse than it already is. We need more regulation of the industry, particularly in regard to way that pharmaceutical companies market certain drugs, which often deviate from their original purpose in order to capture niche markets of trendy disorders (no, really).
I think the track record of AIDS medicines in the Western World is a very solid background in lessening the impact of the disease here, it's probably not widely available enough in Africa for it to have its intended effect.
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