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The Intellectual Property Debate

Perspectives from Law, Economics and Political Economy

Edited by Meir Perez Pugatch

Intellectual property (IP) has become one of the most influential and controversial issues in today’s knowledge-based society. This challenging book exposes the reader to key issues at the heart of the public debate now taking place in the field of IP. It considers IP at the macro level where it affects many issues. These include: international trade policy, ownership of breakthrough technologies, foreign direct investment, innovation climates, public–private partnerships, competition rules and public health where it is strongly embedded in contemporary business decision making.
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Chapter 9: Pharmaceutical Innovation and Intellectual Property Rights: A Global Public Good?

David Goren


David Goren INTRODUCTION In the course of this chapter I will address the question of how a new balance must be achieved between rewarding innovative pharmaceutical research, while meeting the needs of a growing public demand for innovative health care solutions at lower prices. The pharmaceutical industry is in a transition phase. An unusual social contract has prevailed over the past decades between innovative pharmaceutical research companies and the societies they serve. This balance permitted high risk to be highly rewarded. However, this covenant is breaking down – as equilibrium moves to instability. It is with this environmental shift in mind that I propose a fresh examination of the needs of the parties (that is, those doing research, and those benefiting from it) in order to achieve a new balance between what research companies do and what is expected of them. In order to understand possible alternatives to the current IP structure, it is necessary to define the components of IP, and identify those that are failing, or at least leading to failure. Once the problem areas are defined, I will shift to describing (or explaining) the rewards and difficulties we find in society, which at least in part, derive from the problem areas defined. This will be followed by an analysis and discussion of solutions and their global implications. BENEFITS AND PROBLEMS ARISING IN PHARMACEUTICAL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS The most significant dilemma facing the world today in health care is a mismatch between society’s...

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