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Patents, Public-Private Partnerships or Prizes – How should we support pharmaceutical innovation?

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  • Paul Grootendorst

Abstract

The question as to how society should support pharmaceutical (‘pharma’) innovation is both pertinent and timely: Pharma drugs are an integral component of modern health care and hold the promise to treat more effectively various debilitating health problems. The productivity of the pharma R&D enterprise, however, has declined since the 1980s. Many observers question whether the patent system is conducive to pharma innovation and point to several promising alternative mechanisms. These mechanisms include both ‘push’ programs – subsidies directed towards the cost of pharma R&D – and ‘pull’ programs – lumpsum and royalty-based rewards for the outputs of pharma R&D, that is, new drugs. I review evidence why our current system of pharma patents is defective and outline the various alternative mechanisms that may spur pharma innovation more effectively.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers with number 250.

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Length: 41 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:250

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Keywords: Pharmaceuticals; R&D; patents; prizes; innovation;

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  1. Michele Boldrin & David K Levine, 2008. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000002371, UCLA Department of Economics.
  2. DiMasi, Joseph A. & Hansen, Ronald W. & Grabowski, Henry G., 2003. "The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development costs," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 151-185, March.
  3. Dean Baker, 2008. "The Benefits and Savings of Publicly-Funded Clinical Trials of Prescription Drugs," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2008-09, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  4. Dean Baker, 2007. "Stagnation in the Drug Development Process: Are Patents the Problem?," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2007-07, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  5. Jean O. Lanjouw & Mark Schankerman, 2004. "Patent Quality and Research Productivity: Measuring Innovation with Multiple Indicators," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(495), pages 441-465, 04.
  6. Yin, Wesley, 2008. "Market incentives and pharmaceutical innovation," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 1060-1077, July.
  7. Kevin M. Murphy & Robert H. Topel, 2005. "The Value of Health and Longevity," NBER Working Papers 11405, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Michael Kremer, 1998. "Patent Buyouts: A Mechanism For Encouraging Innovation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1137-1167, November.
  9. Brazier, John & Ratcliffe, Julie & Salomon, Joshua A. & Tsuchiya, Aki, 2007. "Measuring and Valuing Health Benefits for Economic Evaluation," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198569824.
  10. Lewis Tracy R. & Reichman Jerome H. & So Anthony D., 2007. "The Case for Public Funding and Public Oversight of Clinical Trials," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 4(1), pages 1-4, January.
  11. McRae, James J. & Tapon, Francis, 1985. "Some empirical evidence on post-patent barriers to entry in the Canadian pharmaceutical industry," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 43-61, March.
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