Peter Pitts doesn’t like the KSR decision, or prizes

Peter Pitts doesn’t like the KSR decision, and he also doesn’t like prizes. His recent Spectator article says:

DISTURBINGLY, SOME FOLKS ARE now advocating a “prize” system where there are no drug patents. Instead, the government would pay a drug maker a lump sum for its innovation, and then the new drug would immediately be placed in the public domain.

Actually, most proposals for prizes would have the rewards be paid out over time, based upon evidence of the benefits of the inventions. For example, over a 10 year period in the Sanders bill. The relationship between the patent system and prizes is also more nuanced. The Sanders bill and the approaches by several prize supporters would retain the granting of patents, but not give the patent owner an exclusive right to manufacture and sell the product, eliminating the monopoly, but providing for cash rewards. However, drugs developed without patents would also be rewarded.

In a related front, today a key WHO World Health Assembly committee approved this language for the IGWG,

(4) to encourage the development of proposals for health-needs driven research and development for discussion at the Intergovernmental Working Group that includes a range of incentive mechanisms, also addressing the linkage between paying for the cost of R&D and the prices of medicines, vaccines, dx tools and other health care products, and a method for tailoring the optimal mix of incentives to a particular condition or product, with the objective of addressing diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries;

The language on the “linkage between paying for the cost of R&D and the prices of medicines” was proposed by Switzerland, as a restating of Brazil’s earlier language on the same topic.

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