Imagine I am a scientist working for a pharmaceutical company and I spend 25 years working on a drug that will cure a disease. I patent my work, but the patent only lasts for 8 years. In that time, the pharmaceutical company sells the drug at a high price but uses most of its profits to fund more research. After 8 years, anyone can replicate my drug. Why should I allow generic brands, in that 8 years, to make my drug? I know many more people would have access to it if I did, but at least when my company is in control of it there are quality controls and secondly, my work is not only funding more research but is something I invested a great portion of my life in. Is it fair to argue for generic drugs in that case?

Your reasoning appeals to a false dichotomy. You assume that either we give monopoly pricing powers to inventors and thereby effectively deny access to recent drugs to poor patients or we allow generic companies to compete and thereby effective deprive inventors of their rewards and of funds for new research ventures. But there are further options.

One would be to allow generic companies to compete immediately (thereby reducing the price of a new medicine to near the marginal cost of production) and then to reward inventors in another way, for example with a reward (out of public funds) proportioned to the impact of their invention on the global disease burden. All patients would benefit for much cheaper access to recent drugs, and taxpayers would pay a little more. Millions of lives would be saved through this innovation -- not merely because poor patients get access to cutting-edge drugs, but also because biotech and pharma companies would gain an incentive to research remedies for the diseases that predominantly affect the poor.

So, while I agree with you that inventors should be rewarded -- for fairness to them and also for encouraging and enabling new research ventures -- and also agree that the quality of pharmaceuticals (whoever produces them) must be strictly maintained, I don't see how any of this needs to come (as it now does) at the expense of poor patients.

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