Saturday, December 09, 2006

Patents and Science

Coming from a lab where patents are part of the game I often think about their influence on research. Patents, I think, have encouraged our lab to focus research on subjects that will lead to products that could actually improve the health of patients. A very good thing. However patents can also be an extreme hindrance to moving research to patients, because it moves the focus away from helping people to making money. A recent science friday episode talks with Lori Andrews, a co-author of a opinion piece in Science, about patents and science. [Link to the opinion piece in Science Mag (probably requiring a subscription).] Not really much new information about the debate on the show, however, some examples of disgusting abuses of patent law (not in the opinion article) will convince anyone that the system (at least the one in the States) needs change.