As I noted in The tepid mainstream “defenses” of Aaron Swartz, patents impose hundreds of billions of dollars of cost on the economy and impede and distort innovation and competition; patent literally kill people (millions of people have died from AIDS in Africa because Big Pharma and the US have blocked generic drugs in the name of patents; by making cars less safe; by denying lifesaving drugs to people with Fabry disease); patents even impose censorship, and are threatening the entire industry of podcasting; patents give rise to free trade restrictions by blocking drug reimportation.
Update: see also Why Chemotherapy That Costs $70,000 in the U.S. Costs $2,500 in India.
Update: Ebola Vaccine Delay May Be Due To An Intellectual Property Dispute (2014). Also: see here regarding patent-related shortages of the Anthrax drug Cipro during the Anthrax scare a few years ago.
For more elaboration on the AIDS issue noted above, see this Democracy Now post. Makes me think we ought to move IP up a notch or so on the list of bad state laws (Where does IP Rank Among the Worst State Laws?).
The new documentary, “Fire in the Blood,” examines how millions have died from AIDS because big pharmaceutical companies and the United States have refused to allow developing nations to import life-saving generic drugs. The problem continues today as the World Trade Organization continues to block the importation of generic drugs in many countries because of a trade deal known as the TRIPS Agreement. We’re joined by the film’s director, Dylan Mohan Gray, and Ugandan AIDS doctor Peter Mugyenyi, who was arrested for trying to import generic drugs, and is recognized as one of the world’s foremost specialists and researchers in the field of HIV/AIDS.