World Economic Forum on the Failures of Patents and Connection to Health Risk

by Stephan Kinsella on January 8, 2013

World Economic Forum: IP and Health Risk World Economic Forum: IP and Health Risk

The World Economic Forum’s Insight Report, “Global Risks 2013” (Eighth Edition)  identifies “the current IP regime” as being a key factor in contributing to the problem of our increasing health risk:

Interestingly, respondents to the Global Risks Perception Survey  connected antibiotic-resistant bacteria to failure of the  international intellectual property regime. This global risk is  defined in the survey as “the loss of the international intellectual  property regime as an effective system for stimulating innovation  and investment” – that is, going beyond the mechanisms of  protecting IP to encompass the idea that the ultimate purpose of  the IP system is to stimulate worthwhile innovation. The  connection highlights a global market failure to incentivize  front-end investment in antibiotic development through the  promise of longer-term commercial reward, a failure which also  applies to drugs to fight malaria and vaccines for pandemic  influenza.

The report also addresses the failure of the IP regime to stimulate innovation:

Breakthroughs in antibiotic innovation will require pooling and sharing of knowledge among academia, private companies and government regulators.37 Companies and foundations like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are pioneering an “open-lab” approach to research which refutes the idea that secrecy and patented monopolies are the bedrock of innovation. [p. 32]

(h/t Michael McKay)
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