Pharmaceuticals, Corporate Crime and Public Health

Pharmaceuticals, Corporate Crime and Public Health

Graham Dukes, John Braithwaite and J. P. Moloney

The pharmaceutical industry exists to serve the community, but over the years it has engaged massively in corporate crime, with the public footing the bill. This readable study by experts in medicine, law, criminology and public health documents the problems, ranging from false advertising and counterfeiting to corruption waste and overpricing, with unacceptable pressures on doctors, politicians, patients and the media. Uniquely, the book goes on to present a realistic and worldwide solution for the future, with positive policies encouraging honest dealing as well as partial privatization of enforcement and greater emphasis on creative research to develop the medicines that society needs most.

Chapter 8: Positive regulation: The complementary role of supports and sanctions

Graham Dukes, John Braithwaite and J. P. Moloney

Subjects: law - academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical law, health law, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


We begin this chapter by presenting the case for an integrated approach to countering all the forms of misconduct discussed in Part II. This will involve creating a hierarchy of strategies for building on the strengths of the pharmaceutical industry, while adopting in parallel with this a mix of strategies for enforcement. Within the hierarchy of strategies for building strengths we find that patents dominate thinking far more than evidence as to their effectiveness warrants. It may well be that patent terms need to be reduced, options for compulsory licences on patented drugs extended and complementary reward systems for innovation strengthened if patents are to contribute to a reversal of the steep decline in pharmaceutical innovation that has been seen over the past 25 years. Patents are simultaneously a strength and a weakness of the innovation system, encouraging innovation by some but preventing innovation by others. Open-source biotechnology to reinvigorate pharmaceutical innovation, complementing the patent model of innovation, is one option. Society has failed to adopt an evidence-based approach to determine how one might craft patent law so that it does less harm and more good than is currently the case. If we over-use overly long patents, their benefits in terms of innovation will be outweighed by the cost to society resulting from prolonged maintenance of monopolies. We are troubled that the pharmaceutical industry has allowed investment in real research and development to fall.

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