Posts filed under ‘open access’

A case against intellectual propety in pharmaceutical industry

Photo by Phil DokasI have just stumbled upon a book called “Against Intellectual Monopoly” by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine, two economists from Washington University in St. Louis. As the title implies they argue in it against the patent system as a whole because it supposedly stifles innovation and brings very little in return. They support their case with numerous examples in a number of areas, some of which I find more, some less convincing. Interestingly, they dedicated a whole chapter to the pharmaceutical industry. They acknowledged the pharmaceutical industry as one of the most costly, and therefore likely to benefit from patent protection, so they reasoned that if they could refute the case for patents there, they could do it anywhere.

Nobody in their right mind will deny that there is a lot of things that are wrong with Big Pharma. Shameless lobbying, physician bribing, exorbitant drug prices all give pharmaceutical industry giants a bad rap. Are patents to blame? Boldrin and Levine argue that they play a big part.



March 13, 2009 at 6:22 am 4 comments

Sage – What is Merck’s freebie really all about?

Warhol's light bulb (artwork by zetson)I was kind of hoping I would be able to get a little vacation away from Open Access, but it seems to be chasing me around. There is a lot of hype in the Interwebs about a Merck spin-off non-profit organization called Sage. For those of you who haven’t heard about it yet, please see here, here, and for a more skeptical approach here and here. Open Access supporters are cheering loudly to praise the pharmaceutical giant for their good will in supposedly donating a huge amount of data to the project. The founders, Stephen Friend and Eric Schadt, liken the project to a new “Science Facebook” and happily paint the future of drug discovery with bright colors as a network of scientists all interacting together for the greater good of the society. However, there is virtually nothing on what the system is going to look like and what it is going to contain. After some more googling, I found this interview with Schadt, which sheds a bit more light on the whole deal.


March 10, 2009 at 4:11 pm 4 comments


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