Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, October 17, 2005

The Economics of Pharmaceutical Intellectual Property Rights in a Nutshell

Tyler Cowen summarizes the situation here very well:
We should not focus on avian flu to the exclusion of other emergencies, including bioterrorism. Avian flu is just one possible pandemic of many. If we confiscate property rights this time around, there won't be a Tamiflu, or its equivalent, next time.
We must continue to get this message across. When the panic hits, flaming interventionists will argue that the gubmnt should do something. But the time to do something is now, not then. Plans and policies must be formulated that look forward not just to one pandemic but to other possibilities as well.

And de facto confiscation of intellectual property rights will certain deter people from developing and producing vaccines in the future. Even the expectation that the gubmnt might confiscate intellectual property rights leads to a reduced expected pay-off from R&D.
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