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E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent

E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent (3)

John Urquhart MD said :
>I don't think that the history of pharmaceutical, vaccine, and medical 
>device development supports the view that patents and the economic 
>incentives that stem from them retard medical progress.  We had the Great 
>Experiment of doing it without these incentives for 70 years in the 
>Soviet Union: their innovations in medicine were, while not nonexistent, 
>a tiny fraction of those in the Western countries.  
Can you seriously think the only difference between Soviet Union and western
countries was patents laws ? 
Jerome Dumoulin
Institut de Recherche Economique sur la Production et le Developpement
Universite Pierre Mendes France
BP 47
F-38040 GRENOBLE Cedex 09
tel 33 4 76 82 54 50
fax 33 4 76 82 59 89

[While this is a very short message I feel that the issue is an important
one. What are the factors which lead to innovation? Clearly patents are
part of the equation but there are other factors as well as the previous
message from Australia reported. There have been innovations which have
occurred where old drugs were used in innovative ways, for example the use
of oily chloramphenicol for meningitis particularly in epidemic situations.
This work done by MSF doctors with African partners has had a major effect
on the many thousands of people who face this disease in the menigitis belt
of Africa. I would be interested to hear of other Essential Drug
innovations and to hear what the motivations or incentives were that
produced the advance. Richard Laing Moderator for May]

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