26 December 2006

A Nobel's Noble Words on the Pharmaceutical Commons

Great piece in the BMJ excoriating greed and stupidity in the pharmaceutical industry:

It is hard to see how the patent issued by the US government for the healing properties of turmeric, which had been known for hundreds of years, stimulated research. Had the patent been enforced in India, poor people who wanted to use this compound would have had to pay royalties to the United States.


In 1995 the Uruguay round trade negotiations concluded in the establishment of the World Trade Organization, which imposed US style intellectual property rights around the world. These rights were intended to reduce access to generic medicines and they succeeded. As generic medicines cost a fraction of their brand name counterparts, billions could no longer afford the drugs they needed.

History will not be kind to those behind this disgraceful state of affairs. (Via Slashdot.)

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