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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Grootendorst, 2009. "Patents, Public-Private Partnerships or Prizes – How should we support pharmaceutical innovation?," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 250, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:250
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    4. Boldrin,Michele & Levine,David K., 2010. "Against Intellectual Monopoly," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521127264, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

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

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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