WOS 3 / Programm / Workshops / Two-Hour Workshops & Tutorials / Free Science II. (Funding R & D)

Workshop Free Science II.
Paying for Public Goods
The Health Care R&D Treaty

Saturday, 12 June 2004, 13:00

James Love
Director Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech), Center for Study of Responsive Law (CSRL), Washington, DC

Tim Hubbard
Head, Human Genome Analysis group at the Sanger Centre & Team Leader, Ensembl genome database project, Cambridge, UK

The cost of developing new medicines is significant, and so is the public interest in promoting access. We want medicines available at marginal cost, but we need to explain how we pay for R&D. There is also an international dimension to the R&D issue -- trade agreements that ensure that the costs of funding R&D are shared. But the current R&D agreements are only agreements about intellectual property rights, which often lead to morally repugant outcomes. There is also evidence that the current system of funding R&D is highly inefficient. For high drug prices, we only get a modest amount of non-innovative R&D. Too much secrecy or too little sharing of knowledge slows down science. And patents block follow-on R&D.

We need a broader and better trade framework for global sharing of R&D costs that allows a country to protect the poor. We also need new business models for funding R&D. We need private markets to produce public goods. What will they look like?

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