The original discoverer of Insulin refused to collect patents on the drug due to the vital role the drug played in saving lives. He would be ashamed of this.

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@freemo That's indeed shameful.

And it's an essential, life saving drug. Huge profit motive, and the companies are getting away with it.

@design_RG I'm not sure the companies are to blame, the profit ultimately is what pays for the drug research in the first place. If they didnt have the potential to make a large profit they probably wouldnt put the risk into developing hte drugs in the first place.

Sadly I dont have an easy solution for this other than to have drug research driven more by charity and govt funding.

@freemo Insulin has been around for many years, I am assuming this product hasn't changed its composition over these 10 years? And yet the price sky rocketed.

American trade negotiators have demanded higher patent protection as part of some of their agreements negotiations. UK people are already expecting some of that when they get to the table with US after a Brexit.

There needs to be profit enough to refund big upfront costs in R&D, and especially the testing phase and approval.

Excessive profiting is non-ethical though.

@design_RG @freemo this topic has a lot to do with patents and Congress continuing to allow them. There's good info out there on what is causing a lot of these issues.

If we moderate the medical market we're evil socialist demon monsters. People are dying, but corporate profits sure aren't!

@design_RG @freemo insulin costs have tripled in the last decade. No generics are available due to decisions made by politicians.


Its very complex. if we just did away with patents and did nothing else to address the problem you would quickly find new drug discoveries would become non existant. The problem is just way more complex than that. Patents just look like its a solution in much the same way that free moneyh looks like the solution to poverty. Neither really work because they fail to address the complexity of the problem


@freemo @design_RG absolutely. But like media copyright laws, we need reform to common sense laws that protect the people before the corporations.


I'm all for reform, but i think the problem for muich of the world is we can not get to a good end through incremental change.. the changes that need to be made are harmful in isolation but beneficial when done together, and they exist across many disciplines (for example in this case welfare reform would have to happen simultaniously with healthcare reform)


@freemo @design_RG if you trust The Verge (science) as a news source, they had a recent video discussing insulin the briefly speaks about the patent case. (On mobile, timestamp 2:35)

I am by no means an expert, this video explained a few topics in layman.

@freemo @teknonomicon @design_RG

> you would quickly find new drug discoveries would become non existant

I do not believe this to be the case. The patent has long run out on WD-40, but it has only one manufacturer. (They actually add stuff to it to foil spectroscope analysis!)

Keeping the recipe for the secret sauce secret is what you probably end up with. In the food industry, at least, companies decide to patent or not strategically: for X years, you own this compound or manufacturing method, but that also means that you have to say what it is and it becomes public record, so when the patent expires, everyone else's factories are already prepared.


Your counter argument really doesnt address mine. WD-40 was originally patented, knowing that they would get a patent for a period before running out is more than enough motivation to invent.

I never said that patents needed to be made perpetual to be an incentive. They should have a limited time period, just as they do now, and that is enough to be an incentive.

The whole point is you have a period of time you make a shit ton of money, then after that you still make money (As the brand leader) but you will make much less. Sure its still worth to sell it and make it, but thats only because the patent period already covered your bills (and some extra) for the cost to invent it in the first place.

@design_RG @teknonomicon

@freemo @design_RG @teknonomicon Right, what I was pointing out with the food industry was that there's more than one way to do this. (I only know this about food because my grandfather created something you have drunk before. The company declined to patent it because they figured that they'd get more lead time by keeping it a secret.)


I'm familiar with the pattern, and for some things it actually works. It stems from the fact that in order to patent something you must make the details on how to make it public knowledge. That means people have a time to experiment with it and once the patent lapses release their own formulation using your idea as a starting point.

For this reason patents arent always a good choice.

However sometimes they are, it really depends on the details of what you are patenting. When it comes to medication parents are your only real option because you have to make the chemical formula anyway because, well, its a drug, as a matter of safety the molecular formular need to be shared with the community to verify its safety. Could you imagine if drug companies started to have the right not to tell you the chemical formula of the drugs you took, I shudder at the thought.

@design_RG @teknonomicon

@judgedread @design_RG @freemo @teknonomicon It's got the electrolytes plants crave!

But it was kinda mundane, it was an all-natural preservative for orange juice, the first one. This was a technicality, so that the orange juice could still have preservatives in it but the label could say "all-natural". Since it wasn't patented, as soon as the second guy figured it out, it started going into every orange juice of all time. No reason to make two, so last time he heard, it's still in all of the orange juice.
@p @design_RG @freemo @teknonomicon If only they had thought to spike it with WD-40 to elude analysis you'd have Steve Forbes fuck-you money.
@judgedread @design_RG @freemo @teknonomicon Unlikely. He received a check for $100 as a bonus.

Although an orange juice that made you smell like WD-40 would get you ladies. Not only would you not have scurvy, but ladies love a man that smells like WD-40. (The true secret: forego cologne, just dab a little WD-40 under your collar.)
@p @freemo @design_RG @teknonomicon yep. Name for me one company that has successfully cloned Coca-Cola. I'll wait.


You are missing the point, A soft drink, or other food is not something of a nature you would want to patent, a drug is, these are apples and oranges.

A drug asa a matter of safety must give away its chemical formula whether it is patented or not, so they dont have the option of secrecy as coca-cola might (which never patented the formula). So when we talk medication patents are really the only way they have to protect Intellectual Property in the first place.

@p @design_RG @teknonomicon

@freemo @p @design_RG @teknonomicon that's not a matter of drug safety. It's a matter of regulation. Never conflate the two.


A regulation demanding drug companies must include the chemical formulae with the drugs they sell is absolutely a regulation which creates safety.

@p @design_RG @teknonomicon

@leyonhjelm @design_RG @freemo @teknonomicon Government interference in this case. Coca-Cola has a license to import coca leaves.
@p @design_RG @freemo @teknonomicon fair point, but it's not as if there aren't sources in other countries

@freemo patents definitely inspires innovation but at some point turns greedy and take away the god given inherent qualities of humans

@freemo In case of USA it's unlikely because of patents, it's because of NDA enforced oligopoly on imports. I suppose the same insulin can be purchased for pennies outside of US.

Second popular technique of drug price boosting in the US is introduction of slightly modified variant of the same drug which *is* patented and then again using NDA to force doctors to move to the new, patented variant.

Both of these are only possibly because of active participation of NDA.

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