First thing, I didn’t actually apologize for my tone, but I’m sorry. I was somewhat short, as some of your posts kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I didn’t really mean to be insulting, but was, so I apologize.
But yes, I think “intellectual property” needs massive reform. It has no special sanctity. For most of human history science got along fine without it. Today patents admittedly have some value and validity still, but they are being grossly abused across all fields, and especially in pharma.
This is a very naive view on intellectual property.
For most of human history, science didn’t exist at all.
Up until basically the past hundred years, the notion of intellectual property was largely a trivial notion as most things bought required physical means of production. Although even hundreds of years ago our founding fathers recognized the benefits of protecting the intellectual property of inventors.
Your suggestion that patents are “abused” is based largely upon the fact that people are doing stuff that you don’t think they should do. But upon what do you base your authority on such matters? You didn’t contribute to the development or production of any of those things. Why do you get to determine what constitutes fair usage of anything?
This is the ultimate problem with just trying to handwave away rights whenever it suits you. Because you are basing that action upon the assumption that such rights violations are ok, because YOU are the one who is deciding that those rights “don’t count” today. That you, somehow, are better equipped to decide what’s fair and what’s not.
But you aren’t better equipped to make such calls. Your opinion holds no significant value at all. Some other person may think that a different price is fair. How do you decide who’s right? You’re basically left with an arbitrary decision.
If you are taking property rights away from the inventors, or people who have purchased those rights through legitimate transactions, then you effectively lose any rational basis for who gets to be the decision maker in such things. Simultaneously, you destroy incentive for creation and production by saying, “Oh, if you invent something you can probably make some profit off of it…as much as some other arbitrary person decides is fair.”
It’s possible that in this case there may be some special factor which justifies the suggested abandonment of property rights, but I’m not seeing it yet. I’m seeing what seems to largely amount to an emotional argument based upon the instinctual response to a large hike in a price. And I appreciate that instinct, as I feel it too. But at the same time I am not so quick to impose arbitrary price controls on a manufacturer without having a very clear logical basis for exactly why it’s ok to do it in this specific case, and only this case.
We already have a general stance against monopolistic market control. If an appropriate regulatory agency deems that a company is abusing its patent-granted monopoly (patents needless to say are granted by the government, not by natural law) I see no reason those rights shouldn’t be taken away.
Certainly you will get no argument from me that prevention of monopolistic practices is a good and necessary thing that is required for a healthy market. But the idea that an arbitrary decision can be made to violate patents is damaging.
Patents are meant to create a temporary monopoly. That’s their function. In exchange, they make that knowledge publicly available.
In the case of this drug, that utility is actually pretty nice… for instance, folks have said, “Well, this company tightly controls access to this drug, to prevent analysis.” That’s not really a legitimate argument, is it? I know exactly what that drug is. I know it’s exact formulation and chemical structure. I even know exactly how it’s synthesized. Because it was patented decades ago.
If someone else wanted to make this drug, they totally could. There is absolutely no mystery to it.