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Re: E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent

E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent (2)


John Urquart argues for patents using only one example ie the Soviet Union.
It is useful to consider more data eg the examples of  penicillin and all
the scientific advances which occurred before the development of patents. 
I accept that the rate of innovation was slower before patents but there
were many other reasons for that.

In Australia we have a high rate of innovation despite a very poor
performance at profiting from the innovations. (This is because our
innovators usually must sell their ideas cheaply to people overseas.  This
is because funding for development of new ideas is rarely available in
Australia despite the availability of both patents and lots of money for

The question of how best to support innovation is complex.  Cultural issues
are very important.  Innovators are rarely motivated by money alone and
often not motivated by money at all.  A simple answer like patents is
neither sufficient nor necessary.  There are other ways to fund development
such as government grants.  Given that poverty is the main cause of poor
health there are major advantages in using economic methods which
distribute benefits according to need and costs according to ability to

Meanwhile many children die every day unnecessarily because they lack
access to existing treatments.  Please consider trying to explain your
views on these issues to them.



Dr Peter Mansfield <Peter.Mansfield@flinders.edu.au>
Director, MaLAM

MaLAM encourages pharmaceutical companies to provide more reliable
information to assist appropriate health care.

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