Interesting thoughts on intellectual property

Sherry M. Knowles, Chief Patent Counsel at GlaxoSmithKline, in the latest issue of Science, 2010, 327 (5969), pp. 1083-1084:

“Fixing the Legal Framework for Pharmaceutical Research

The cost of drug research and development (R&D) has increased from ~$230 million per drug in the early 1980s to $1.2 billion today, with R&D currently requiring about 10 to 15 years per drug. This investment of time and money cannot be sustained without a legal system that provides sufficient time to recoup the investment and to secure a reasonable return, as well as the ability to make important business decisions that remain correct over a long period of time. Pharmaceutical companies have historically relied on two kinds of market protection: (i) the exclusive ownership of their own clinical research and (ii) patents. However, the U.S. Hatch-Waxman Act, which is designed to strike a balance between innovative pharmaceutical research and access to generic drugs, is flawed. Further, U.S. courts sometimes retroactively change standards for patent protection long after large R&D efforts have been initiated, which increases the risk to defend and rely on patent protection.”

Those who have access to Science’s archive will find the full text here. Otherwise, leave your e-mail address in a comment, and the text will be sent to you by e-mail.

Simon Hedlin Larsson

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