We’ve discussed in the past how Noble Prize winning economists have been worried about the impact of intellectual property laws, and how at least one Nobel Prize winning physicist is warning that strict intellectual property laws are harming science and innovation. Now we can add a Nobel Prize winning biologist to the list (his Nobel was for medicine). Sir John Sulston has written up a column for The Guardian explaining how intellectual property is “shackling” science:
The myth is that IP rights are as important as our rights in castles, cars and corn oil. IP is supposedly intended to encourage inventors and the investment needed to bring their products to the clinic and marketplace. In reality, patents often suppress invention rather than promote it: drugs are “evergreened” when patents are on the verge of running out — companies buy up the patents of potential rivals in order to prevent them being turned into products. Moreover, the prices charged, especially for pharmaceuticals, are often grossly in excess of those required to cover costs and make reasonable profits.
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