The Instigator
Vi_Veri
Pro (for)
Winning
43 Points
The Contender
Brik
Con (against)
Losing
36 Points

Public health concerns justify government violation of pharmaceutical patents.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/19/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,173 times Debate No: 4452
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (15)
Votes (17)

 

Vi_Veri

Pro

Welcome BRIK, welcome judges, welcome spectators to Round 5 of our debate tournament.

I would like to welcome my opponent to the debate by offering him an objective and logical debate. May the most reasonable argument prevail.

_________________

For my opening statement, I will lay out our argument.

Public health concerns justify government violation of pharmaceutical patents.

A public health concern that could justify violation will be argued.

For the purposes of this argument, we will be discussing the United States.

patent:
A legal document issued by a federal government that grants exclusive rights for the production, sale and profit from the invention of a product or process for a specific period of time. Patents also grant the right to prevent others from copying the invention. (merriam-webster)

pharmaceutical:
a medicinal drug (merriam-webster)

_____________

Governments should have the right to violate patents that have been established with pharmaceutical companies if the violation can be justified with a public health concern. A few public health concerns that will justify such a violation:

1. Epidemic:

affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time (merriam-webster)

2. Pandemic affecting USA:

occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population (merriam-webster)

3. Biological attack:

A biological attack is the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make you sick. Many agents must be inhaled, enter through a cut in the skin or be eaten to make you sick. Some biological agents, such as anthrax, do not cause contagious diseases. Others, like the smallpox virus, can result in diseases you can catch from other people. (http://www.ready.gov...)

The government has due right to violate patent laws with a business and create generic versions of their product on the government's own time and money based health concerns like these. All a government would have to do is compensate. Laws related to the legitimacy are as follows:

Amendment 5 of the U.S. Constitution:

…..nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. (http://www.usconstitution.net...)

Compulsory Licensing

28 USC 1498, concerning uses of patents or copyrights, when the use is by or for the government. Under this statute the US government does not have to seek a license or negotiate for use of a patent or copyright. Any federal employee can use or authorize the use of a patent or a copyright. The right owner is entitled to compensation, but cannot enjoin the government or a third party authorized by the government, to prevent the use. Any contractor, subcontractor, person, firm, or corporation who receives authorization from the federal government to use patents or copyrights is construed as use by the federal government, and cannot be sued for infringement. (http://www.cptech.org...)

Report of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Working Group on Research Tools. "Rights of government agencies: As a government agency, NIH may use and manufacture any patented invention, whether or not developed with federal funds, and authorize its use and manufacture by others for the United States, without a license, subject to liability for "reasonable and entire compensation" under 28 U.S.C. �1498." (http://www.cptech.org...)

Therefore, due to a large crisis that would wipe out large sections of our population, leave America economically unstable and unable to defend itself, the government has right to intervene. The United States government would compensate for the patent violation, and this re-imbursement of funds should be appropriate - if the company has a problem it can consult with the laws of eminent domain (explained soon). There would be a massive disservice to its people which its main purpose is to protect if a government were to hold back aid during, say, a biological attack.

Eminent domain explanation:

The power of a governmental entity (federal, state, county or city government, school district, hospital district or other agencies) to take private real estate for public use, with or without the permission of the owner. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution provides that "private property [may not] be taken for public use without just compensation." The Fourteenth Amendment added the requirement of just compensation to state and local government takings. The usual process includes passage of a resolution by the acquiring agency to take the property (condemnation), including a declaration of public need, followed by an appraisal, an offer, and then negotiation. If the owner is not satisfied, he/she may sue the governmental agency for a court's determination of just compensation. The government, however, becomes owner while a trial is pending if the amount of the offer is deposited in a trust account. Public uses include schools, streets and highways, parks, airports, dams, reservoirs, redevelopment, public housing, hospitals and public buildings. (http://www.ready.gov...)

Therefore, if the company dislikes its compensation by the government, it can sue the government for losses. During the pending time, though, the government can make massive progress with distribution of said drug and aid the population in need during these horrible circumstances.

Therefore, a government can violate a patent if justified by a public health concern. It is clearly established in our law system, and works well enough in our court system if the company wishes to sue for unjust compensation by the government.

Regards,

Vi Veri
Brik

Con

Ah, back in the debating saddle again. Sorry for the delay, folks, but now that I'm home sweet home again I'm ready and rarin' to go. Thanks for the warm welcome, Vi, and good luck to you in the ensuing cannonade!

"Rules are mostly made to be broken and are too often for the lazy to hide behind."

General Douglas MacArthur had a point with this quotation, but he forgot to add that some rules don't need to be broken. Because of this, I negate the resolution.

Before I begin, I offer one DEFINITION to clarify the round:

VIOLATION:

http://www.dictionary.reference.com... defines "violation" as "the act of violating," and "violate" as "to break, infringe, or transgress (a law, rule, agreement, promise, instructions, etc.)."

Move with me now to the RESOLUTION ANALYSIS, an explanation and evaluation of the topic:

To understand what the resolution asks us in this debate, it is best to use an analogy. Imagine a game of Monopoly�. Monopoly� has a very clear set of rules, which are outlined in the pamphlet that comes with the game. One of them is this: if you roll three sets of "doubles" in a row, you automatically Go Directly to Jail. If a player rolled three consecutive doubles and did not Go Directly to Jail, he or she has violated that specific rule – and, collectively, the entire rule system of monopoly. (Even when someone cheats in only one aspect, it is stated, "He/she broke the RULES," not simply "the RULE.")

Now, if the rules of Monopoly� said that a player could choose whether to Go Directly to Jail or to remain at his/her position, and the player chose to stay where they were, no rule would be broken or violated, because there would be no provision in the rulebook preventing the latter choice.

With these standards for debate set, we can now move on to CONTENTIONS, the meat and potatoes of the case. My position will be split up into two points:

I: NO VIOLATION IS PRESENT IN THE PRO CASE

My opponent's argument is surprisingly agreeable with mine, for a debate round. Her definitions are not disagreeable, her specifying of the arguments to the USA is fine, and her three reasons that would necessitate widespread drug distribution are not objectionable. But the point that is central to my case is actually also provided in the PRO constructive speech.

U.S. patent law (28 USC 1498, as cited in the PRO speech) includes a provision that allows the government (or any contractors employed by the government) to utilize patented products – including pharmaceuticals. Because this practice is permitted by law, the patent has not been violated – it is not broken, it is not transgressed, and therefore it still stands intact. My opponent justifies in her case the USE of pharmaceutical patented products by the government, but not the VIOLATION of said patents.

Now, the only way that the PRO case could become applicable to the resolution is if the PRO were advocating that the government would unjustly or inadequately compensate the pharmaceutical company whose product they distributed. While this statement was never actually explicitly made in the PRO's speech, I will add the second contention:

II: ACTUAL VIOLATION (BY UNJUST COMPENSATION) WOULD BACKFIRE

It is important to realize the value and purpose of a patent in the first place. It is not a tool that allows a particular company to brag about its accomplishments and dangle its invention just out of reach of other companies tauntingly.

The patent is an incentive for scientific research and development. Much in the same way that a capitalistic society encourages individuals to work for their own benefit, the patent system allows companies to benefit from their research efforts and gain both the money and the rationale to research further.

If patents were violated by giving unjust compensation, both these things would disappear. Any company could purloin another's invention and reap profits. This would drive the price of the drug down and hurt the inventing company fiscally. Also, because every company's discoveries would be threatened, no company would have any compelling urge to research further, preferring to wait for another company to think it up first so that they could pirate the idea.

According to Wai Lang Chu on http://www.labtechnologist.com..., "The patent system, as it presently operates, provides the incentive necessary to fuel the development of innovative and beneficial research tools by granting an inventor the exclusive right to control the use of his invention for a limited time…." The free publishing of these trade secrets would stagnate the research process, only leaving the United States (and the whole world) twice as vulnerable for the next filovirus.

Remember, however, that this second contention is secondary to the more important first: that the PRO does not actually violate the patent. The second contention will mainly be used as back-up for the rest of the debate should it become necessary. If the method the PRO advocates is "clearly established in our law system," then it is not a violation at all.

General MacArthur failed to account for the rules that can remain unbroken. For this reason, and for the two reasons above, I negate the resolution.
Debate Round No. 1
Vi_Veri

Pro

I will be demonstrating my opponent's failure to deconstruct my argument using the following example from my above list: biological attack.

During a biological attack, a government would seize a company's cure and manufacture it cheaply because :

A. The government lacks the money to buy the product in bulk for its citizens for distribution.
B. The drug is too expensive for the citizens to buy and would cause economic distress along side the public health disaster.

Because a government would need all the money to invest in other forms:

A. The military at this time of crisis
B. The police forces
C. The hospitals
D. Misc. Costs that will be added to its course of action in said situation

Because of this, the government will not have enough money to justly compensate the company (which will sue later for unjust compensation, which is a violation, as I stated in my above argument):

"Therefore, if the company dislikes its compensation by the government, it can sue the government for losses. During the pending time, though, the government can make massive progress with distribution of said drug and aid the population in need during these horrible circumstances."

________

As for my opponent's second argument, I would like to state that what I am proposing will not take place every day by the government. I am proposing that there are instances that the government will have the right to violate compensation for patents in order to carry out for the common good, which is stated in the U.S. Constitution to be what the government works for:

Preamble

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

We can specifically look at "provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare" for our government‘s validation to carry out for the common good.

-------------------

Further more on my opponent's second argument, it is null because my proposition will not be carried out outside of such circumstances. I proposed that under certain circumstances, the government has the right to violate patent laws by not compensating the company enough. Which, I did propose as a solution for the violation in general to the company in the future. The violation I proposed would happen during a circumstance where the government could do nothing but take from this company in order to defend its citizens (which is one of the government's purposes).

The government will not frivolously go around taking patent away from company's for no good reason that does not involve having thousands or millions of people in jeopardy. The common good outweighs a company's patent compensation, because, frankly, if the whole of America begins to die off, what government will stand for that patent law to be protected by?
Brik

Con

I will be demonstrating my opponent's failure to deconstruct what she deems my failure to deconstruct her argument by going "line by line" down her second speech. I apologize if any capitalized words or phrases seem to be yelling – I don't mean to be rude; I can't put italics on debate.org, so I used this method to emphasize key points. I will use the same line dividers as my opponent did for clarity.

The PRO gives two reasons why the government would need to take the saving pharmaceutical and manufacture it – the government and the citizens both lack the money to buy the product. The solution to this is simple: deficit-spend and give out the drugs free. If the United States federal government (remember, this is the focus of our debate) is capable of supporting two separate wars and multiple aid programs around the world, an emergency drug-manufacturing expense would be no trouble. And, if the drugs are distributed free, the people don't need the money.

The four reasons that the PRO gives for the government's lack of funds – paying for the military, police, hospitals, and miscellaneous costs – are non-issues at the point where I demonstrate the government's proven ability to deficit-spend.

Thus, the government has plenty of money to compensate the company – by deficit spending. And, at the point where full and just compensation can be (and there is no reason why it shouldn't be) given, there is NO VIOLATION of the patent.

This is the MOST IMPORTANT issue in the round – the PRO is either advocating government manufacturing of the drug WITH or WITHOUT compensation. If the former, there has been no violation of the patent, because such a provision is okayed by patent law; if the latter, why not give compensation when we have a proven successful method of doing it? It's like hiding the candy on Halloween; if you CAN give it, DO give it.
________

Now to the second half: the PRO attempts to reassure pharmaceutical companies that her proposition "will not take place every day…." But that really doesn't matter. The motivation for any pharmaceutical research depends on the profit prospects of said research. If the government was permitted to barge in, snatch the blueprints for the drug, and produce it without compensating the company – EVEN ONCE – the sanctity of a capitalist society is jeopardized.

Note that this is different from simply manufacturing the product in compliance with current patent law. It stems directly from the deliberate violation of the law by the government – and that threatens not only research and economic matters, but complete government efficacy as well.

Essentially, by breaking the rules it set itself, the government has nationalized a certain portion of industry – and you can just look to any economically socialist nation for the results of such behaviour. Such a violation is just the beginning of a slippery slope to ruin – if there is no incentive to research, there is no research, and no drugs to protect the next generation.

The PRO brings up the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution as a justification for patent violation. First, examine the above three paragraphs – subverting capitalism for one epidemic only worsens our chances for the next. Second, look at the first argument – there is no need for violation! All of the PRO's doomsday scenarios can be completely solved WITHOUT violating the patent.

-------------------

The PRO again promises after the dashed line that her "proposition will not be carried out outside of such circumstances." Again: 1. It still threatens research incentives. 2. WHY DO WE NEED TO VIOLATE THE PATENTS IN THE FIRST PLACE? We can compensate in the status quo perfectly well.

My opponent concludes by weighing the value of the patent system against millions of lives. I may sound like a broken record at this point, but the argument still applies: if we did "violate" a patent now, it would only endanger us in the future, and we don't need to violate anything to solve these epidemics.

In conclusion, remember: if there IS compensation, there is no violation. If there ISN'T compensation, all future research is jeopardized, AND it's illogical, because we can compensate. Thank you.
Debate Round No. 2
Vi_Veri

Pro

Vi_Veri forfeited this round.
Brik

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent was unable to post within the time allotted - midterms to blame. I don't have any new arguments to make, so I'll put this debate to rest and allow the judging to begin. Thanks, Vi, for a fun and informative confrontation, and good luck in the rest of the tournament!
Debate Round No. 3
15 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by PublicForumG-d 8 years ago
PublicForumG-d
Pro begins the round off well.

I don't go more into this because Con's framework demands that for any of Pro's points to count, she has to win that there was a violation of patents. If she wins that, she wins the round.

Con makes a "NO Violation" Claim in R2. Con also claims Violations would backfire.
Posted by PublicForumG-d 8 years ago
PublicForumG-d
Pro's ref for that was "cost".

//A. The military at this time of crisis
B. The police forces
C. The hospitals
D. Misc. Costs that will be added to its course of action in said situation

Because of this, the government will not have enough money to justly compensate the company (which will sue later for unjust compensation, which is a violation, as I stated in my above argument):
//

I do not buy that the multi-trillion dollar government which borrows hundreds of millions of dollars a day cannot pay back a pharm. company. Con makes this argument in R2, and wins it. I vote Con off of this, because it completely precludes Pro's entire framework.

Then Pro attacks Con's Backfire contention with

//
Further more on my opponent's second argument, it is null because my proposition will not be carried out outside of such circumstances. I proposed that under certain circumstances, the government has the right to violate patent laws by not compensating the company enough.//

I do not buy this because the affirmative must prove the resolution as an absolute statement. AT THE VERY LEAST they must prove on balance. Pro merely said she had a special plan that the res. may be true in. This is unfair to Neg - if all pro has to do is craft a careful scenario in which she wins...of course she'll win. Its not fair - Pro doesn't win any ref on this.
Posted by PublicForumG-d 8 years ago
PublicForumG-d
Pro ends R2 with //The common good outweighs a company's patent compensation, because, frankly, if the whole of America begins to die off, what government will stand for that patent law to be protected by?//

This is something I could vote off of. This had potential. But you didn't take out Con's Point or P2 (P2 destroying this, and P1 destroying the remainder of your case).

In the end, Con completely carried their contentions. Con won both his contentions, and since his contentions precluded Pro's entire case, I don't need to weigh or anything else.

Vote: Con - Brik.

The round therefore goes to Con.
Posted by birdpiercefan3334 8 years ago
birdpiercefan3334
Posted my final decision on the discussion board named "Debate Round 5 and Decision" in the Facebook group "Online Debate Tournaments". It took me a long while. Thanks for a pretty good debate. Midterms first!

But, congratulations Brik.
Posted by birdpiercefan3334 8 years ago
birdpiercefan3334
I can give my decision in an hour. Good luck to both of you.
Posted by Brik 8 years ago
Brik
No problem Vi! Get those midterms taken care of.

For those asking, I went to Sin City in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. Didn't do as well as I had hoped - 3 out of 12 ballots - but I sure enjoyed it!
Posted by Vi_Veri 8 years ago
Vi_Veri
Sorry about not being able to post quickly: midterms :/
Posted by birdpiercefan3334 8 years ago
birdpiercefan3334
Hey guys, I'm also one of your judges, so, I'm patiently waiting for this round.

On a side note, Brik, how'd you do in Nats? What division were you in?
Posted by PublicForumG-d 8 years ago
PublicForumG-d
No problem at all :)

And Congrats on NFL nats! What'd you quall in?
Posted by Brik 8 years ago
Brik
Hey PFG!

Thanks for being patient with us (me). I don't forsee anything between now and the 6th that will prohibit me from posting round 3 shortly after my opponent does. I think we can feasibly predict the round will be done in time. I'll get on that 3rd round ASAP!
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