Ring-fencing medical knowledge is one of the great grotesqueries of our age (Johann Hari). We live in a world where corporate profits come before hundreds of thousands of human lives. Where the production of cheap life-saving medication is not allowed by international laws that uphold the interests of pharmaceuticals. Where patent laws cost lives…The proposition is proud to move the motion that This House Would Bypass Patents on Life-Saving Drugs. By bypass we mean completely circumvent as is detailed in the Stiglitz plan that we set out that combines a pooling system with financial incentives. Patents refer to the exclusive monopoly right over a particular drug that extend for a period of 20 years. More importantly our definition of Life-Saving will be drugs that are widely accepted by the scientific community curing or reducing the effects of illnesses that if left untreated would result in death.
================================= Opposition Introduction ==================================
Patents do not costs lives, they save many, and there is no way the hugely expensive plan the prop have proposed will save more. The prop have proposed a radical solution to their problem: they want to ignore intellectual property, one of our most important constructs to encourage innovation. On the opp we believe the status quo of allowing a drug company to patent something and profit from it is necessary for them to have an incentive and ability to create life-saving drugs now and in the future, and it is saving lives in the long-term that concerns us. The prop think they can solve this by having an extremely expensive plan, but this will not work, and the money is far better spent elsewhere.
All the Yes points:
- From the Irrational to the Ingenius:The Status Quo and Our Proposal
- Patents Cost Lives, our Plan Saves Them
- Patents Stifle Innovation on Life-Saving drugs. Our Plan Embraces it
- Patens are grossly inefficient. Our Plan Rewards Results
- The world we should not live in.
- Summary Greece
All the No points:
- Taking Away the Incentive to Produce Life-saving Drugs
- Consequences of the Loss of Incentives.
- Further Problems
- Benefits do not outweigh the costs.
- The Consequences of the Huge Cost of the Plan
- Why we save more lives
- Opposition Summary
From the Irrational to the Ingenius:The Status Quo and Our Proposal
The current patent system is flawed to its very core. Under the status quo pharmaceutical firms make use of research from state-funded university labs, that has been released into the public domain, to base their own research programs. They usually enter late in the process when there already is a possible product in sight. Once a product is completed it is patented for the sole use of the company for a period of 20 years. This 20 year monopoly is rigidly enforced by both domestic & international law across the world.
Devastating problems arise with this because the high prices charged by these firms to maximize their profit are too expensive for those in developing countries, and even in some developed countries that lack proper social security institutions, resulting in millions of unnecessary deaths. The current system suppresses innovation by placing legal hurdles to further researching and improving existing drugs. It also incentivizes spending on non-life threatening diseases common in the West (such as hair loss)and therefore bring in more revenue than those focused on poorer countries that can’t afford to spend as much on medication.
Therefore, we propose a plan set out by Economics Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz where an international multi-billion dollar fund would be set up to award scientists and firms once they discover or develop cures to life-saving diseases. This would aim to cover research costs but also incentivize research into life-threatening diseases over other ailments. Once payment is made the product is pooled into the public domain, available for use by any company anywhere in the world. While this would be expensive (0.6% GDP) it would pay-off in the medium term as health care systems would no longer have to pay huge premiums to drug companies. More importantly, it would allow for millions to afford medicines[[http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-hidden-truth-behind-drug-company-profits.html]]
Firstly, we would like some more clarity from the affirmative team on their model. When exactly are the going to pay scientists for their discovery? We will presume at this stage that it will only be when they have actually discovered a life-saving cure. How much will they pay them? Will it be the necessary hundreds of billions of dollars required for all the failed drugs, testing and getting through regulations? And how exactly would it suddenly allow millions to afford medicine, if all it was doing was essentially paying the companies the same amount of money that they would otherwise receive, only taken out of taxes rather than private income? Who would be paying for the fund? Opp assume Joseph Stiglitz doesn’t have all that money himself.
The prop have already identified a problem in their own case. They are necessarily reducing the incentive to produce life-saving drugs because whatever way you look at it, a company can make more money if they have a monopoly over a product than if it goes straight into the public domain. They have then stressed the fact that much of the demand is actually for things such as hair-loss drugs, because they are demanded in the West, and people in the West have the money to pay. If their model continues to protect patents on hair-loss drugs but not on those of life-saving illnesses, the incentive for the companies will actually be to invest in the non-life threatening illness drugs, because the difference in profit will be even greater.
Firms have to pay off their costs, and just as importantly they have to make a profit. When prop speaks about the high prices being charged, that is the price that has to be paid for the huge expense of producing the drugs, which despite the scenario set up by the prop, actually do save enormous numbers of lives under the status quo.
Lives are saved from pharmaceutical companies bringing new drugs to the market. Disincentivising this will cost lives.
Patents Cost Lives, our Plan Saves Them
Health Activist at UNGASS
It is obscene that corporations can be given patents to make monopoly profits at the expense of .. lives. Something has to give. And that something should be the patent regime, and not those hundreds of millions of lives
Pharmaceutical companies are undeniably driven by profit. They use patents to secure monopolies, thus enabling them to charge as high a price as they can which be afforded by a sizable market segment, the west. However, these prices are prohibitively expensive for poorer countries and thus profits made by patents often come at the expense of millions of lives.
In the poor world, the patenting system every day puts medicines beyond the reach of sick people. In 2001, 40 pharmaceutical giants took the South African government to court because they wanted it to stop producing generic copies of an AIDS drug, just as effective, for $100 a year to save their dying citizens.They were demanding it pays the full $10,000 a year to buy the branded version – or nothing. The companies claimed that the trial was not about “denying accessibility” of the medicines to those who need it but that it is about the rule of law. But what use is this when 4.2 million South Africans who are afflicted with Aids will suffer or die?[[http://www.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1119675.html%5D%5D
When in 1996,HAART, a therapy that delays the onset of AIDS became available, death rates fell by 84% in rich countries. One would assume that soon after, people in developing countries would benefit from the miraculous drug too, yet only 8,000 people in Sub Saharan Africa were able to afford it by 2001.
The numbers are not getting better. By 2030, it is estimated 50 million people will need new drugs, which are currently prohibitively expensive, to stay alive. What do we do? Follow our plan and bypass patents. After the company develops a cure and gets the prize, any company will be allowed to make the drug for those in n
The proposition seems to not understand the nature in which pharmaceutical companies price and market their products to the developing world.
The proposition’s example of South Africa shows that there was significant demand for the drug in that country. The pharmaceutical companies responded to this. The pharmaceutical companies and the South African government came to a deal where the companies would sell the AIDS drug for $1,000 (instead of the Western $10,000 price).[[http://www.globalaging.org/health/world/victory.htm]] They did this because the companies knew they could make higher profits selling at the lower price. In this example, the pharmaceutical companies performed what is called ‘price discrimination’. This means they sold their products at different prices to different buyers. The companies understood that South Africa was poorer than the West and therefore South African’s had much lower reservation prices. Therefore, they sold their drugs for less in South Africa (if they sold at Western prices, they wouldn’t sell nearly as much).
If the proposition’s model was enacted before this AIDS drug was invented, it is most likely it would never have come to the market in the first place. This is because the pharmaceutical companies would have had little incentive to produce a product that they would not be able to gain a patent on. In the future, new and better drugs can and will be possible to be produced. Under the proposition’s model, there will be far less incentive for companies to research, test and produce these.
Their model does not save lives, it costs lives. Drugs are still sold to the developing world. Future live-saving drugs will not be produced.
Patents Stifle Innovation on Life-Saving drugs. Our Plan Embraces it
“Research needs money, but the current system results in limited funds being spent in the wrong way.”
The status quo allows the market to decide which drugs are worth researching on the basis of maximising profits. One of the main arguments raised by opponents of this measure concerns the necessity of incentives to motivate firms to invest resources. Diseases that affect those in the West get more attention than the killing diseases that affect millions predominantly in the developing world because the West is a richer market that can be “milked” for much more profit than life-saving drugs can offer. [[http://www.naturalnews.com/020345.html]] Research into life-saving drugs is under provided in the commercial sector and as a result “far from being a font of innovation, the drug market has become “stagnant” [when it comes to life-saving drugs]”[[http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-hidden-truth-behind-drug-company-profits-1767257.html]]. Firms are motivated to “squander a fortune developing medicines that do exactly the same job as a drug that already exists, but has one molecule different, so they can take out a new patent, and get [more] profits.” [[Ibid.]] The existing system of drug manufacturing is not one that encourages innovation but one that stifles it. The focus is not on providing new, better medication for life-saving diseases but on making profits and profits and profits at the detriment of good medicine.
Our plan would incentivise the research and development of life-saving drugs by awarding sizeable prizes to both cover (together with revenue from drug sales) the cost of production and incentivize research specifically into life-saving medication. As opposed to the current winner takes it all system where the one firm who completes the product gets all the profits we would encourage cooperation by rewarding all firms involved in making a new drug, thus embracing i
The proposition’s model will do nothing but reduce research into life-saving drugs, not increase.
Firstly, goods and services demanded by the West will always be more profitable than those demanded by the developing world. This occurs in all markets. We don’t force Apple to produce food parcels for Africa instead of iPods for the West. Income disparities will always exist whether we like them or not.
Of course we don’t like death in the third world, and we support aid and other mechanisms that help address that. However, a reallocation of Western investment simply because the proposition does not like Western medical drugs for non-life threatening illnesses is not a sufficient justification.
Secondly and more importantly, the proposition model will actually have the opposite effect. The proposition has moved life-threatening illness drugs from a patent system to a reward system (which disallows monopoly profits). This means they earn far less profit than under the status quo. On the other hand, non-life threatening illness drugs in the West will still be able to be patented for monopoly profits. This will make the production of drugs for non-life threatening illnesses much more attractive in comparison. Why? Because then pharmaceutical companies can only earn monopoly patents by producing drugs for illnesses that are not life threatening. The proposition’s model doesn’t narrow this investment gap, it widens it further.
Furthermore, as we analyse in our susbstantive point below, the fact alone that patents are removed on life-saving drugs is yet another reason why research and innovation of live-saving drugs will fall.
Under the proposition model, research and innovation is disincentivised through both the removal of patents and the fact that patnents on drugs for non-life threatening illnesses remain.
This point falls to the opposition.
Patens are grossly inefficient. Our Plan Rewards Results
Dr Marcia Angell (former editor of New England Journal of Medicine)
Only 14 per cent of budgets go on developing drugs.
The case for the granting of patents is that the resulting profits are necessary to finance the expensive process of R&D. These artificial monopolies, however, have proved very inefficient. “The FDA estimates it costs over 7 million dollars to bring a new drug to market pharmaceutical companies put that figure closer to 70 million dollars.” [[http://www.naturalnews.com/020345.html]] This disparity shows R&D is a relatively minor financial concern. “The pharmaceutical industry spends nearly U.S. $57.5 billion on marketing and U.S. $31.5 billion on R&D” [[http://www.naturalnews.com/022698.html]]. The main concern of pharmaceuticals is not the cost of research and development but advertising to compete with other firms and create a market for its product. This is not necessary for life-saving drugs; you may need advertising to be convinced to buy a skin care product but you hardly need convincing to purchase a HIV drug that will save your life.
Apart from need-instilling publicity pharmaceuticals spend fortunes ensuring their profits are not compromised by legislation. “Drug companies spent more than $3bn on lobbyists and political “contributions” over the past decade in the US alone.”[[http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-hidden-truth-behind-drug-company-profits-1767257.html]]. The vast majority of the profits pharmaceuticals get allegedly to facilitate R&D, go to publicity and lobbying.
Our plan would end this ridiculous waste. It would subsidize and reward success and tangible improvements in vaccines that can save lives; it would pay for the R&D with none of the frills. This is further evidence of the viability of this proposal, with cheaper R&D and patent-free drugs health care systems across the world would save billions in addition to those saved by the absence of premi
Firstly, it is not true that it only cost $70 million to fund a drug research/production. The costs are significantly higher into $100-$800 million range.
On the issue of marketing, marketing costs will be higher under the proposition model. Under the status quo, firms with patents don’t need to market much because they already have a product that no one else can sell. Under the ned model, firms that are now producing the exact same drug now need to spend significant sums on marketing to attempt to differentiate their product.[[www.galbithink.org/cc4m.pdf]]
Also the prop seems to be saying that they would be apying for all the R&D of these multiple companies because as soon as then info is out there that’s it there are no more costs, this is not true, there a re production costs, labour costs, marketing costs (which will balloon), not to mention the initial start up fees. What is the great incentive for a company to enter this market if it’s chances for profit are minimized? The prop essentially reduces the incentives for R&D for life saving drugs by creating a situation buinesses won’t want to be in if they don’t have to and the prop has also showed how drug comapnies do trend towards making more cosmetic drugs such as hair loss treatments, which they could still patent under the model. So why would a company choose aa lower profit margin at cost over a possible massive profit with costs, for a business it just doesn’t make sense why they would choose to create important medication when there is very little in ot for them and this is the situation the prop will be creating.
The world we should not live in.
Its such a shame that even the bright minds of New Zealand are so subdued to the immorality of the current system. The practice of patents promotes the concept that the production of life- saving drugs is a multi-million dollar business and nothing else. We, the proposition, believe that human life is sacred and cannot be measured out by twenty year monopolies for huge financial gain. The opp claims, “Firstly, goods and services demanded by the West will always be more profitable .. We don’t force Apple to produce food parcels for Africa instead of iPods for the West”. Goods demanded by west might be more profitable but we draw the line when this ‘good’ is medicine. It’s sad we need to clarify the difference between an ipod and human life. An ipod is a luxury, human life is a right and a right for everyone, not just the rich.
The proposition understands that the drug industry is in some ways, driven by profit.R&D is costly, but this is why instead of having exclusivity of a drug, which prevents cheaper generics to be sold, we are offering them a huge prize for finding a cure!This way they are awarded and other pharmaceutical companies can develop the same drug cheaply to prevent the premature deaths of millions who can’t afford brand drugs.
But opp has failed to understand that the incentives for coming up with such a revolutionary product, is not just monetary. Money matters, but the main purposes of science is to save human life! Altruism still exists in the academic world of science. When Jonas Salle was asked why he had not patented his discovery of the polio vaccine, he said “it would be like patenting the sun”.
The current patent system on potentially life-saving drugs by pharmaceutical giants is ‘morally unacceptable’.Our plan, which provides both monetary incentive to companies and allows the development of generic drugs, is realistic, ethical and will save millions of innocent lives. [[medicineshttp//www.physorg.com/print13548519.html]]
We have already told you why massive returns are necessary to justify massive investment and risk in developing drugs, as so many drugs cannot go to market. To guarantee this return it is necessary for the developer to own that property so they can profit from it. If they don’t, they will develop hair loss drugs instead.
The prop has in response predictably fallen back on their billion-dollar prize scheme, which will apparently reward investors more than allowing them to own the property. For it to do this, it will necessarily have to cost more than just paying the fees that the drug companies charge. Why? Because if a company can make more money from the alternative, i.e. hair loss drugs, they will take that option. The prop says that they don’t like drugs being a multi-billion dollar business. They aren’t actually changing this, they’re only suggesting a government-funded prize instead of a market one.
However altruistic some scientists are, unfortunately they don’t have $800 million dollars on their own. Large start-up investment is needed to produce any drug, and the prop needs to show how there will be an incentive for that investment. Either there won’t be, because life-saving drugs will offer less return than non life-saving ones, or they will actually have to spend more money than is currently spent to provide that greater incentive. You’re better off spending just buying the drugs under the current system. In fact, under their model, altruistic people will become less attracted to science as their is less return for making life-saving drugs, and consequently there will be less support by investors in these ‘altruistic’ medicines.
The prop say that their model will reduce marketing costs, but if there are generic producers all producing the same good, only marketing gives them an edge over competition, so actually marketing costs will increase for life-saving drugs. As it is if company comes up with a life-saving drug, they don’t have this extra cost.
This debate has come down to three main problems in the status quo and how our plan adresses them.
Our plan saves lives. Under the status quo millions lack access to available due to their high cost. The oppositions main reply to this was to draw parallels between life saving drugs and i-pods: “We don’t force Apple to produce food parcels for Africa instead of iPods for the West”. Apart from the fact that we’re not forcing them,we’re providing a set of incentives for the market to deliver desired outcomes (more and cheaper life-saving drugs). None of the opps suggestions address the problem without causing other ones as well. Their proposal regarding giving aid does not take into account the global importance of cheap living-saving medication available to all and the fact that the suppression of killing disease is a prerequisite for the resolution of poverty. Disease reduces productivity in developing countries, spreads over borders and creates instability. Addressing it is necessary in order to give these countries a chance for aid to make a concrete difference. Aside from that our plans are not even mutually-exclusive.
Our plan will reinvigorate innovation into new life-saving drugs. The opposition has at no point addressed the current stagnation of real innovation into new drugs and has actually embraced it by accusing our plan of solving it. Because as they have admitted “goods and services demanded by the West will always be more profitable” currently firms choose to focus on non-life-saving drugs that can sell in the West. Our system would stimulate investment by firms by granting them a direct and sizeable profit tied with R&D. It would allow more research to be undertaken by governmental university labs and our cost-savings would allow us to hire the some of the best scientists without losing a beat. They have countered our arguments by claiming that corporations fund university research (factually inaccurate) and that corporations will choose to focus on non-life saving drugs (the status quo) without explain why providing a good profit upfront is not going to incentivize firms.
Our plan is much more efficient and sustainable than any alternative suggested by the opposition. This plan for 0,6% GDP over about 4-5 years is much more cost efficient in the middle-term (3 years) than any other alternative and its benefits more long-lasting. We are not government economists nor will we attempt to be by telling you exactly where that money is coming from from governmental budgets (I’d go for military spending). The status quo overcharges for much less spending on R&D that’s not even on novel drugs. The opp’s suggestion we buy drugs for the lifetime of the 69% of sufferers that dont get them is a waste of resources in the long-run and fails to address the structural problem of lack of innovation.
So, because our plan gives millions the freedom to live not just freedom to die ,is more efficient and stimulates research we proudly stand in prop
Taking Away the Incentive to Produce Life-saving Drugs
Despite the absurdly low amounts given by the proposition, it costs an enormously large amount to get a drug to market. Even skeptics admit that it costs $100-200 million[[The $800 Million Pill: The Truth behind the Cost of New Drugs, Merril Goozner ISBN 978-0-520-23945-6 Retrieved on 2009-07-15]] and it can go as high as $800 million per drug[[“The price of innovation: new estimates of drug development cost” (pdf) DiMasi J.A. et al.: , Journal of Health Economics 22(2003), 151-185. Retrieved on 2008-06-16]]. These costs include all the experimental drugs that don’t work, getting through regulations to ensure the drugs are safe, and general high start-up costs to high-level scientific experimentation[[http://www.economist.com/node/2724420]].
Businesses therefore need to have a high return on every drug they produce. Moreover to this, they need the promise of large profits to encourage investment and creation in the drug in the first place. Creating a brand new drug requires enormous amounts of money and failed attempts, and therefore involves a large amount of risk. If a person can’t be guaranteed some kind of control or return to that risk and expense, they are unlikely to want to invest in it. In particular, if a drug company can make more money by patenting drugs that cure hair loss, they will take that option.
The affirmative has suggested a form of return, but they haven’t show how they can guarantee a return to investment and a significant enough profit to give investors a reason to put their money towards drugs rather than something else, unless they allow a company to claim huge amounts of money in return. Even if they could make that guarantee, that would be for hundreds of millions of dollars for any drug that so much as reduces the effects of a life-threatening illness. Painkillers reduce the effects of life-threatening illness. Giving out large payouts to anyone that comes up with something that makes a small difference is definitely not viable.
The pharmaceutical industry’s repetitious cry that research and development would be curtailed if drug prices are moderated is extraordinarily misleading.
Yes, R&D costs money. Yet only 14% of pharmaceuticals’ budgets go to R&D. Reports have linked “high drug prices to advertising, profits and enormous executive salaries. The report documents that drug companies are spending more than twice as much on marketing, advertising, and administration.”[[Ibid.]]
Our plan does not threaten this pathetic level of investment spending. Firms are incentivized to undertake research in life-saving drugs because now they have a guaranteed return on their R&D investment. Regardless of the course of drug production and distribution they will be profit from their research. For non-life saving drugs revenue is spread over 20 years and is by not guaranteed to cover costs. Our plan is much more hassle-free for businesses and encourages higher investment in productive R&D by giving firms what they spend towards developing a new drug. This marks a break from the status quo where only one in five of drugs developed are actually innovative rather than rehashed copies of old drugs. [Ibid]]
In addition to research by firms we also enable charitable-institutions and universities to carry out further research. Scientists are principally motivated by the desire for peer recognition and also by the fact that they want to have achieved something more with their lives than reduce some teenager’s pimples by 30%. The cost savings we offer would allow us to hire some of the world’s best scientists to work in renown campuses and research institutions with a view to find solutions to pressing illnesses while still being much cheaper than the current cost.
We are not dissuading research into live-saving illnesses we’re invigorating it by offering inciting profit that is tied to results and is cost-effective.
Consequences of the Loss of Incentives.
What are the consequences of this? Whatever current drugs we can bypass are all very well, but AIDS is hardly the single life-threatening illness on the planet. Drug companies are trying to develop cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and more [[http://www.ipi.org/IPI%5CIPIPublications.nsf/PublicationLookupFullText/20D973FFEBDCBA23862568E0006F1909]], and will likely want to develop more cures for illnesses that come up in the future, as they did for swine flu, if they can get a return on the investment. If there is not a significant return to investment, a company will not bother to continue to research and develop these drugs. Even if the current drugs were released for generic development, lack of future drugs would cost far more lives in the long run, and save money on alternative treatments [[http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/rnd/riggs01172004.html]].
Furthermore, most things that cause illness, such as viruses and bacteria, develop so that they can resist drugs [[http://www.stopmalarianow.org/research.html?&L=10]]. We have seen this in the case of the increased ineffectiveness of antibiotics. Prop wants to change the focus of drug production from the development of new drugs to the cheaper production of drugs that already exist. This will happen because any start-up company or investor in the drugs industry will see that it is cheaper to simply create the drugs, rather than put money into research and development, which is the most expensive part of the drugs creation process [[http://www.cptech.org/ip/health/rnd/riggs01172004.html]]. If there is a greater focus on this, then less new drugs will be created to combat the illnesses. This structure begins to look very flawed as the illnesses develop resistances to old drugs. There needs to be a continuing incentive to create new drugs for any illness, not to simply focus on old drugs being created in larger, cheaper amounts. It is worth slightly more expensive drugs if new innovation is constantly able to happen
So on the one hand you claim people in Africa can buy the drugs cheaply after the patents end and on the other you are telling us old drugs are useless because of viral resistance. Indeed this makes it all the more important to encourage innovation. We have been accused of wanting to “ change the focus of drug production from the development of new drugs to the cheaper production of drugs that already exist.”. Apart from the fact that these two aren’t mutually exclusive this accusation naively assumes what there currently IS a focus on production of new life-saving drugs.
However, “the current systems of innovation encourage drug firms to spend too much on developing minor modifications of existing drugs and on competitive marketing and patent litigation, instead of focusing efforts on innovations that will have the largest global health impact.”[[ http://www.nationmultimedia.com/home/2010/08/31/opinion/Proposed-health-fund-could-encourage-drug-developm-30136907.html%5D%5D. Currently “firms have incentives to focus on the diseases of people who can pay a lot of money when they get sick, even though those diseases tend to have many available treatments already, and the incremental health gains are typically small.” [[Ibid.]]. “Profit made by pharmaceutical firms is not, in fact, a return on their R&D, but is, instead, a return on their marketing investments”[[http://www.researchoninnovation.org/WordPress/?cat=4]] and as a result there is less incentive to make genuine investment that is aimed at the medical breakthroughs we need to address the problems you mention.
Our plan changes all this. R&D is encouraged and is directly related to profit. We create a fund that is able to attract investment in research where it is most needed fulfilling the aspirations of scientists and the needs of patients. It will directly encourage greater and more meaning full investment spending.
Apart from the enormous costs of the prop’s “plan”, there are further problems. Firstly, the prop have not at any stage shown why their model will reduce the incentive to produce a drug for a non life-threatening illness. Not only does this mean they will produce less drugs for life-threatening illness, but it also means that when a company does produce a life-saving drug, they will still sue to protect patents under statements such as ‘it’s not life-saving’. If companies are as greedy as the prop say they are, they will still want to maximise profit and keep their patents, and will still attempt to litigate if they can. It also means that companies will deliberately alter their drugs to ensure they are “non-life saving” (in order to earn a patent). These are huge wasted opportunities to save lives that occur under the proposition model!
Secondly, this will also encourage company secrecy for development of drugs. Often drugs that are produced are done in stages, with one compound patented and companies paying the patent-holder to do further experiments to develop the drug. If a company has a patent on a compound, but could lose that patent if another company develops it into a life-saving drug, they will be far less inclined to allow companies developing life-saving drugs to use that compound.
Thirdly, the prop want to make these drugs more accessible for people in places such as Sub-Saharan Africa. The drugs will still cost money ($600 per year as opposed to $1000 in the case of AIDS drugs) and the people in Africa will not be any richer. Their model doesn’t actually make it easier to directly buy and dispense these drugs because all of the money is spent on rewarding a company for creating a new drug. So people who live below the poverty line and become terminally ill still won’t be able to buy their cheaper drugs. This means they actually don’t help the people in greatest need anyway, and will still be left with all of the harms we have shown.
The opposition claims that we have not shown why our model will reduce incentive to produce a drug for a non life threatening illness. Yet, since it guarantees a multi billion dollar prize fund for firms who succeed in developing a cure for life threatening diseases NOT non life threatening illness, it is quite evident how. This ‘multi billion dollar prize fund’, together with the revenue earned from sales of drugs and of course, the reputation that will be earned after making a life altering discovery, will deter firms from choosing to simply pursue patents.
Moreover, we doubt firms will deliberately alter their drugs to ensure they are ‘non life saving’. You forget the praise and respect that a pharmaceutical firm would get for finding a cure for horrifying diseases such as AIDS etc.Not to mention that on top of this new reputation, they will earn the prize fund as well as actual revenue from the sales of the drug! The huge wasted opportunities that the opposition is talking about are merely imaginary.
Finally,the opposition has failed to understand why the system we are proposing will undeniably make drugs more accessible for people in developing countries. Once,under our method the new life saving drug is pooled into public, generic drugs developed. They are just as efficient but are substantially cheaper than brand names. According to the Congressional Budget Office, “generic drugs save consumers an estimated $8 to $10 billion a year at retail pharmacies”. In fact, due to generics from India, the most commonly used combination of AIDS drugs used in developing countries now costs $80 per patient per year .This is 99 percent less than 10 years ago. This decrease in price due to generic drugs has improved and saved the lives of millions and with our method, which will only make generic drugs more easy to develop, even more lives will be saved.
Benefits do not outweigh the costs.
Under the status quo we are seeing increased competition between different drugs and pharmaceutical companies. Prices are falling[[http://www.avert.org/generic.htm]]; furthermore we see that generic AIDS drugs being sold at even lower prices after the patents expire. Under the status quo, prices are falling.
The proposition’s proposes that 0.6% of world GDP go toward this pool. That is roughly $348 billion going towards essentially a short term solution.
Let’s be clear, $348 billion is a lot of money. This is greater than the annual government deficit of the United Kingdom. This money could have been spent on aid and other health programmes, so in order to win this debate the proposition needs to prove a massive benefit that results from such a huge sum of money. It is not justified to spend $348 billion when it firstly brings no benefit in the short term and secondly brings huge harms in the long term.
We need to loom at the larger issue of poverty, where governments and people live on very limited incomes. Many drugs sold to the developing world (even those without patents) are very cheap, it’s just these countries are so poor they can’t afford them. We don’t believe it is justified to spend over $348 billion which won’t help the real underlying problem, that being poverty. We belive that this is too costly when the same amount could actually be used help the poverty issue. It is better to stop someone getting malaria by giving them a mosquito net than a pill to possibly help AFTER they have the illness. The proposition’s massive cost just seems disproportionate, especially because people will still be getting sick and dying.
The proposition have attacked the patent system on moral grounds without proving a reasonable link as to why it will help the millions who are and will be dying of illness across the world.
Ah..so we need to develop drugs because of viruses grow immune but the millions in developing countries inflicted with HIV can wait 20 years to get the new ones. Doesn’t immunity develop faster where the prevalence of the disease is highest? Doesn’t that suggest that maybe Africa should be getting all the new drugs at prices that wouldn’t make Harrods blush for a change?
Oh and no drug prices aren’t decreasing [[http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3374/is_9_26/ai_n6122102/]] but even if they were we don’t feel a price reduction that makes a drug that used to only be affordable by the developing country equivalent of Bill Gates now accessible for local rockstars is cause for celebration.
0.6% GDP is a lot of money. We realize this. But what could be more important than spending money on medicine and saving lives of millions? In addition, our plan would save money for governments in the medium term by means of reduced drug premiums and more efficient drug research.
The opposition have suggested that the way to reduce illness is not accessible drugs but reducing poverty. This is a fundamental and very dangerous misapprehension by side Opp since the principal causal relationship runs from illness to poverty. When a country can’t afford to buy medicine for its people and make them get well, how exactly is it supposed to function properly and improve its living standards? Sickness is the underlying problem.ln South Africa, one-in-three women aged 25-29, and over a quarter of men aged 30-34, are living with HIV.In 2001, when the pharmaceutical companies took South Africa to court, 4.2 million had Aids.In 2009 that figure rose to 5.7 million. Clearly, the ‘agreement they made’ (after suing the country!) did not provide any solution.[[http://www.avert.org/aidssouthafrica.htm]]
Therefore, fighting poverty wont work unless people are healthy and able to work. Under our model, just as effective and much cheaper generic drugs will be allowed,sold and will save millions.
The Consequences of the Huge Cost of the Plan
The prop have indicated from the beginning that they want their fund to be 0.6% of GDP. This figure, we have pointed out amounts to $348 billion a year. This is an astronomically large amount. To justify this, they have said it will save money on drugs in the medium term. They have said generic drugs save $8-10 billion a year, a pitifully small figure by comparison. It would actually be much, cheaper to provide money simply to buy the drugs off the companies, when you consider the amount of money being discussed. For example, 33.2 million aids sufferers x $1000 (the costs without bypassing patents) = $33.2 billion. We’ve also explained why the costs of the prop plan will cost more than patents, because of the need for incentives.
There are limits to the amount of money that can be put towards charities and funds such as this. The amount proposed by prop is actually more than the current total aid given by Western countries to the developing worldIt wouldn’t require a $348 billion burden on the world to see change; this is an unrealistic approach, Where would it come from? Most nations are in debt[[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2079rank.html]] they won’t give up more money they don’t have. Would it be re-allocation of current aid money, which would lead to significant harms, because with $350 billion you could do so much more than declare a moral crusade against the pharmaceutical industry.
The FAO estimates $30 Billion/year to solve world food problems[[http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000853/index]] what could struggling countries do if they had $350 billion to help, they could even buy the drugs at the inflated prices, it is ridiculous to simply spend this money on a moral imperative when it could save the people the prop wants to help if the resources were allocated more efficiently to the places and organizations that need it.
The props model gets in the way of their problem, it is just frivolous.
First of all, the 0,6 GDP plan were proposing is exactly that, not as opposition has suggested a 0,6 GDP per year plan. The plan set out by Stiglitz is meant to provide for the current diseases that exist so we’re looking at windows of about four to five years.
The opposition has miscalculated the savings our plans makes. Here are the real estimates:
HIV 33.2 million sufferers x 20,000 [[http://aids.about.com/od/hivmedicationfactsheets/a/fuzeon.htm ]] (actual cost of of HIV drug)= 66.4 billion per year;
Cancer 12.7 million sufferers x 50,000 = 63.5 billion per year; and another 4 billion for malaria. The total amount saved for these diseases by using generic drugs that reduce the cost of “treatment by as much as 99%” is in the region of 101.2 – 132.5 billion a year. Their suggestion to purchase all the drugs needed at current prices costs vastly more in the medium as well as long-term. Once a drug is researched it can be produced for as long as it is useful rather than being paid for again and again. It also means we only pay for the 14% spent on research costs plus as much to act as an incentive rather than all the unnecessary expenses we have in the status quo. Objections were raised as to where the money was going to come from: beats us we not government economists. What we do know, however, is that the world got into this financial mess by not planning ahead of time this measure saves money in the long-term (contributing to medium to long-term sustainability) and is necessary.
Apart from proving access to cheap drugs we also aim to reinvigorate research into new drugs of real significance rather than the stagnation of the status quo; this directly benefits all countries. The opp’s alternative was to throw the money at these countries in the form of aid which does not provide a sustainable solution to illness and cripple domestic markets. Our plan provides a crucial stepping stone to eliminating poverty by allowing for the suppression of killing dis
Why we save more lives
The prop, in trying to differentiate between patent profits and their “reward pool” seem to think they’re providing extra incentives to scientists from universities and research institutions, therefore increasing innovation. This is wrong. Firstly, many scientists work for pharmaceutical companies directly (getting paid very large bonuses for developing new treatments). Secondly, scientists at universities and research institutions are paid by pharmaceutical companies to undertake research for them. Why is this important? It means that scientists are actually harmed under the proposition’s model, not helped. When patents are removed, pharmaceutical companies can no longer earn monopoly profits.
Secondly, the proposition’s model is not even necessary. If their problem is that a minority on the margins cannot afford the life-saving medicine, wouldn’t it be far cheaper to simply provide the funds required to purchase them? It wouldn’t require a $348 billion burden on the world; this is an unrealistic approach, Where would it come from? Most nations are in debt[[https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/rankorder/2079rank.html]] they won’t give up more money they don’t have. The prop want to say that any amount of money is justified to save lives, but if that money could be spent on saving lives, it is actually wasting lives, not just money. There are more killers than illness, and more ways to treat them than drugs.
In addition, if companies with patents charge very high prices, that creates a market for cheaper drugs for that illness, so other companies can move into that market. This means innovation is encouraged, there are more drugs and the price isn’t an issue in the long term. Under the prop’s model it is necessary that generics are more profitable than new drugs for a company to produce, or else none of them will, instead going for the massive prize for new drugs. If generics are more popular, no new drugs will be produced, only copies
Firstly under plan you can pay scientists double the bonuses they get paid and still get the job done way below the current cost. This is because we won’t have to pay $6-10 million a year for the CEO of the firm in question or billions in publicity. We’re also providing incentives for the same companies to research novel drugs. Rather than fret over prices remaining high for 20 years (hence the lobbying & publicity billions) to make a profit we’re allowing them a generous R&D-linked profit on delivery.
Secondly, we have the preposterous claim that university research is funded by corporations! The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry lobby group, estimates that private industry finances only about 43% of drug development! [[http//www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1118638]] Our plan allows for universities and government institutions to take on more research and even provide them with concrete benefits.
Thirdly, more than 69% of those with HIV lack access to the medication to treat it.[[http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7430835.stm]] Rather than pay the current prices for that 69% for as long as they need them what we do is pay for them in a drastically cheaper one-off payment that would allow for generic copies to be made ad infinitum. This way we also don’t endorse current practice that actively discourages innovation but instead create a new regime that truly rewards it allowing everyone to benefit from genuinely novel drugs.
Fourthly, the opp has argued our plan would not encourage cheaper drugs with the same effects to be produced. Of course not! If we create generic drugs, accessible to all why need a “new” drug that does exactly the same? This is what happens under the status quo;companies creating useless “me-too drugs” one after the other rather than researching into novel drugs that have something to offer. Rather than see this lack of innovation as a problem they are offering its solution as an argument ag
It has been accepted by both sides in this debate that it is best if more lives are saved, and if more life-saving drugs are produced in the long term. The prop’s case has been characterised by naive assumptions about their model solving everything, and basic misunderstandings of economics.
The prop have founded their case on the idea that lots of generic producers will be able to produce drugs cheaply if patents are bypassed. However, there needs to be a massive incentive to get these drugs developed in the first place. They cost up to $800 million to get to market, and this means huge amounts of investment are required. Not only does this investment need to be payed back, there needs to be a promise of strong profit to pay off the risk of such a huge investment being unsuccessful (most drugs never go to market). As patents provide the ability to charge monopoly pricing, if there was no patent for life-saving drugs there would need to be an even greater incentive to stop companies producing non-life saving drugs instead. What this means is that whatever model the prop propose to provide these incentives, it will always be more expensive than allowing a company to patent a product, which at least makes it as valuable as a non-life saving drug.
The prop’s way of accounting for this problem of incentive was to to provide an enormous fund, using 0.6% of all GDP, to use as a reward scheme for the people producing drugs. We calculated this to be $348 million, which was accepted. Not only is this amount of money wholly implausible, as it is more than countries currently give in total aid (being from Greece, perhaps they want to borrow it?), it is also money that could be better spent elsewhere. First, it would be cheaper to simply buy the drugs for those who currently can’t afford them. Under their model, they are effectively paying for everyone, not just those in need. Secondly, money spent on food, infrastructure and disease preventatives would be more effective overall, and save more lives, including people who don’t just die from disease. And then there is the problem that people below the poverty line can’t afford generics either.
Prop have also contradicted themselves. Firstly: The point, it seems, is to provide a massive incentive to produce new drugs. The prop’s case relies upon a remaining incentive for drug companies to want to produce generics. If the prop’s model really provides such a huge incentive for new drugs then no-one will actually want to produce generics, so the cheap drugs won’t come about anyway.
Secondly, they have insisted that the people who produce drugs are altruistic, and this will make them produce life-saving drugs under their model. If the companies that produced life-saving drugs were altruistic, there wouldn’t be a problem because they wouldn’t charge monopoly prices. We showed you how in fact companies can and do perform price discrimination, by selling at cheaper prices in the developing world.