Drugs industry protecting 'morally unacceptable' patent system

Major drugs companies are using fierce lobbying tactics to protect a pharmaceutical patent system that is "simply morally unacceptable", a world-leading political philosopher will tell a major meeting of UK and European pharmacologists today.

Addressing an audience that will include senior figures from the pharmaceutical industry, Thomas Pogge, Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University in the United States, will argue that international rules on intellectual property "violate the human rights of poor people by denying them access to vital medicines".

He will go on to say that huge mortality and morbidity rates can be dramatically lowered by reforming the way the development of new medical treatments is funded.

In his AstraZeneca-sponsored lecture entitled, 'Advanced Medicines: Must We Exclude the Global Poor?', Pogge will propose an alternative licensing system called the Health Impact Fund (HIF) which he says is "required as an add-on to the existing system to render it human-rights compliant".

The HIF would be a global agency, says Pogge, underwritten by governments. It would offer to reward the patentee of any new medicine, during its first decade or so, with annual payments proportional to this medicine's demonstrated global health impact.

Registering a medicine with the Fund would be voluntary and require a concession affecting its price. Pogge says this would give innovators the opportunity to forgo "monopoly rents in favour of an alternative path that would provide ample rewards for the development of new high-impact medicines without excluding the poor from their use".

Pogge will deliver his AstraZeneca-sponsored lecture on the final day of the Federation of European Pharmacological Societies (EPHAR) 2008 Congress, hosted by the British Pharmacological Society at The University of Manchester.

Speaking ahead of his lecture, Pogge said: "The main responsibility for change lies with politicians and citizens. But pharmaceutical companies are also citizens, and they play a significant role in the political process of most societies. They lobby a lot. And here I do see fault. They lobby for holding the line on a status quo that is simply morally unacceptable.

"They do this because they know the existing rules can have a profitable business model under them and are uncertain what alternative rules would be settled upon once the existing rules were found unacceptable.

"I want to change this conservative attitude. I want to give them an institutional reform that they can endorse and unite behind. I am convinced they would do better, on the whole, with the Health Impact Fund than without. I want to convince them of this. And I want to show them that, on balance, they have more to gain than to lose by supporting this reform.

"It will be harder and harder to hold the line on the existing system, and the HIF reform preserves pretty much everything they like about this system. In other words, they have both moral and strategic reasons to support the HIF."

Pogge's lecture is expected to provoke fierce debate at the conference, with many delegates holding alternative views.

Source: University of Manchester

Citation: Drugs industry protecting 'morally unacceptable' patent system (2008, July 17) retrieved 17 February 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2008-07-drugs-industry-morally-unacceptable-patent.html
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Jul 17, 2008
The "huge mortality and morbidity rates" must "be dramatically lowered"! The current world population is too low at 6.8 billion! Extending our life expectancy and increasing our rate of reproduction must be a top priority. Death is after all... "simply morally unacceptable"!

Quote "The supreme irony of life is that hardly anyone gets out of it alive." - Robert Heinlein, "Job", 1984

Jul 17, 2008
It sounds like a great idea to me, as long as it remains voluntary.

Drel, I think the problem is that the poor are being selected against, not that we need to increase the population. Will reducing death increase the population? Yes, but leaving the poor to die doesn't seem like the humane answer to that.

Jul 17, 2008
Ah yes, a "global agency" will be created to handle this perceived problem. More and more, we see that our sovereignty is being ceded to global concerns that are not accountable at the ballot box. Is this trend really a good thing for our country, even when the goals seem laudable such as in this instance?

Jul 17, 2008
Yes.

If it's voluntary.

Jul 17, 2008
Yeah, that's what we need... more taxes.

If the mortality rate is the issue (instead of the drug companies or the patent system) why isn't anybody calling out to make DDT legal again? That would improve the mortality rate by killing off the pests that carry diseases.

Jul 17, 2008
Many problems with this guy's idea. First he seems to miss addressing how new drug ideas would become drugs. Is the inventor to foot the bill? How much does it cost to develop a drug anyway? If this fund decides to fund the clinical trials , who decides which drug applications are worthy? Far too much potential conflict of interest, cronyism, and bribes. One need look no further than the U.N. and their officials with their hands in the cookie jar of the U.N. to see how ridiculous this idea is. To be fair, I'm also not in favor of drug companies always looking to extend patent protection by making minor changes to formulations. I also don't like the fact that the U.S. consumer is subsidizing all other nations on the cost of drugs. We need a more level playing field. U.S. consumers need pay far less, while modern industrial nations must pay more. Countries need pay at rates according to per capita income. All those exporting drugs that they had previously imported need pay top dollar. Countries breaking patent laws need pay top dollar.

Jul 17, 2008
Many problems with this guy's idea. First he seems to miss addressing how new drug ideas would become drugs. Is the inventor to foot the bill?


No, the drug companies would pay for development, as they currently do. Why would this change?

How much does it cost to develop a drug anyway?


A lot. This is irrelevant.

If this fund decides to fund the clinical trials, who decides which drug applications are worthy? Far too much potential conflict of interest, cronyism, and bribes. One need look no further than the U.N. and their officials with their hands in the cookie jar of the U.N. to see how ridiculous this idea is.


The Fund would decide. This is not difficult. If the company didn't like the Fund's decision, then they can choose to go the traditional route of patenting their drug.

To be fair, I'm also not in favor of drug companies always looking to extend patent protection by making minor changes to formulations. I also don't like the fact that the U.S. consumer is subsidizing all other nations on the cost of drugs. We need a more level playing field. U.S. consumers need pay far less, while modern industrial nations must pay more. Countries need pay at rates according to per capita income. All those exporting drugs that they had previously imported need pay top dollar. Countries breaking patent laws need pay top dollar.


Sounds like you want some kind of, I don't know... global government? Some kind of "united" agency enforcing laws on other "nations"? I'm sorry, I just don't agree with that approach. ;)

Jul 17, 2008
The patent system is not unethical. There is an Edison out there in India or China and he or she will collect royalties when they get their patents. The idiots that say patents are unethical want to take money out of their mouths and out of their wallets. And conversely, it is not unethical to make Chinese corporations pay American Inventors the money they owe inventors living on this continent.

Jul 19, 2008
The "huge mortality and morbidity rates" must "be dramatically lowered"! The current world population is too low at 6.8 billion! Extending our life expectancy and increasing our rate of reproduction must be a top priority. Death is after all... "simply morally unacceptable"!


Extract your head from your anal cavity and look at where population growth is occuring.

The correlation between miserable living conditions and high rates of birth is absolutely glaring and unmissable if you actually bothered to check. Luckily, I don't think you nor other eco-tards have the power to keep the third world miserable and thus contributing to the population problem.

Jul 20, 2008
The "huge mortality and morbidity rates" must "be dramatically lowered"! The current world population is too low at 6.8 billion! Extending our life expectancy and increasing our rate of reproduction must be a top priority. Death is after all... "simply morally unacceptable"!


Extract your head from your anal cavity and look at where population growth is occuring.

The correlation between miserable living conditions and high rates of birth is absolutely glaring and unmissable if you actually bothered to check. Luckily, I don't think you nor other eco-tards have the power to keep the third world miserable and thus contributing to the population problem.


Correlation is obvious, but correlation is not causation. One obvious interpretation is that overpopulation (=exceeding the population environment can support at a given technological level) leads to miserable conditions. That actually supports drel's reasoning so I guess you see it the other way around but what supports that interpretation?

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