The Instigator
Veritas_LDer
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
JoeBob
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

R: Public health concerns justify government violation of pharmaceutical patents.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2008 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,603 times Debate No: 4627
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (7)

 

Veritas_LDer

Pro

I affirm the resolution "Public health concerns justify government violation of pharmaceutical patents". I offer the following definitions:
Pharmaceutical patent- a patent granted by the government referring to either pharmaceutical drugs or the related medical technology
Government violation of pharmaceutical patents- government action whereby patents are infringed upon or revoked
My value is Justice. We must use this value because the resolution clearly asks whether something is justified, that is to say, whether it is just. My criterion is Maximization of Life. We use this criterion because life all rights or any parts of life are irrelevant without it. Therefore Justice is impossible without it.
Contention One: Government violation of pharmaceutical patents makes life-saving drugs more accessible to people. The price of drugs is as high as the companies set it for their own profit. If one company is the sole owner of a patent, then it has the ability to charge whatever price it wishes. Take for example the cancer drug Avastin. Avastin was released as a drug to treat advanced lung, breast, or colon cancer. It has been found to increase patient's time to live buy an average of 5 months and delays tumor growth by an average of 4 months. It costs up to $100,000 a year. Some drugs can be so expensive that people who literally cannot live without them either have no access to those medicines or must go into debt or utter poverty to get them. The impact is clear: Those who desperately need life-saving medicines are either unable to access these medicines at all or must may exorbitant amounts to procure them. Pharmaceutical patent violations by government lower the prices and maximize life by allowing greater access.
Contention Two: Government pharmaceutical patent violation opens up potentially life-saving technologies that would otherwise be ignored. Pharmaceutical companies focus on the specific project they are working on, but in doing so they come upon new technologies which, although they may be unrelated to the current project, are still valuable to medicine, if not even more so than the project currently being worked on. However, although that company may have no present use for the technology, it still sets up patent thickets on it so that other companies cannot access the technology. Schacht explains:
Innovators in biomedical industries tend to see patent protection as critically important as a way to prohibit competitors from appropriating the results of a company's research and development efforts.
The express purpose of such patent thickets is to prevent technology from being accessed and used to develop potentially life-saving drugs by rival companies. Government violation of such patents would open up this technology to be used, maximizing life far more than by allowing it to wither in a scientists imagination.
Contention Three: Government pharmaceutical patent violations allow the government to direct R&D towards technology which maximizes life. In a system where their patents are absolutely protected, pharmaceutical companies would naturally pursue those lines are research which are most lucrative, which they can make the most money off of. However, the most lucrative drugs are not necessarily the most beneficial to maximization of life. Patent violation naturally devalues whichever technology it releases. When the government has the ability to devalue a certain technology, drug companies will naturally not pursue that technology but rather invest in others which are now far more lucrative than the originals. The government then uses patent violation as a means to emphasize R&D which better maximizes life.
JoeBob

Con

I will argue that governments should not be permitted to violate pharmaceutical patents for any reason, including "public health concerns."

Response to Contention One: If the government violated a patent, which I interpret to mean that they allow anyone to mass produce the drug and sell it at low cost, then the public would instantly have access to that particular drug and lives might be improved or saved. However, the pharmaceutical company that invested billions (with a B) in research, development, testing, and safety approvals would lose their entire profit margin on that drug, forever. Thus, the company would be forced to immediately shut down offices and cut thousands of jobs just to stay in business. Then, the company would stop all expensive R&D because patents are now worthless guarantees of future product protection and profits. Thus, NO NEW DRUGS will be developed and the companies will only pursue manufacturing of existing drugs. A lack of new drugs, forever, is a bad thing because we need new drugs to better treat our diseases.

Response to Contention Two: If pharmaceutical companies were unable to patent-protect "off-shoot" technologies, and rival firms were able to steal those technologies or research, then the pharmaceutical companies would have no incentive to explore offshoot technologies. They would remain narrowly focused on their specific task so as not to accidentally provide ideas or research for their competitors. Thus, LESS R&D would be conducted, resulting in FEWER drugs to treat diseases.

Response to Contention Three: If the government violated patents, this would not guide R&D into other areas of research. Pharmaceutical companies are not government-directed or government-funded. They are private entities that do whatever they want. A pharmaceutical company that no longer has patent protection will not pursue ANY FORM of costly research, because there is no longer any guarantee of recouping expenses by selling an expensive product.

FOR EXAMPLE: Imagine the government has just nullified your patents on allergy drugs, costing you billions of dollars. But they "promise" to continue to protect patents on AIDS drugs. Why would a company trust the government to continue to protect patents on AIDS drugs, and risk billions of dollars to begin AIDS research? As soon as the expensive new AIDS drugs are released, you would then argue that AIDS drugs should be cheap or free because they save lives, and you would want the government to violate those patents as well.

Breaking the patent system will end drug research. The number of life-saving drugs on the market will DECREASE, and human suffering will INCREASE.

SUMMARY: Pharmaceutical companies are for-profit ventures. They invest billions of dollars into research to create a product they can take to the marketplace. If the government fails to protect their product patents, and allows competitors to steal their products, their business model will fail and they will go out of business. Patents are designed to protect profits for a limited time so that the company can recoup their expenses and turn a profit so they can pay the salaries of the smart men in white coats. Eventually, patents expire and then we all get cheap generic drugs. Everyone wins in the end.

If you eliminate the patent/profit period, the pharmaceutical companies go out of business and we never get any new drugs ever again.
Debate Round No. 1
Veritas_LDer

Pro

Veritas_LDer forfeited this round.
JoeBob

Con

My opponent failed to respond to my counterargument, therefore my conclusions stand unchallenged. Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 2
Veritas_LDer

Pro

Veritas_LDer forfeited this round.
JoeBob

Con

Indeed, my opponent is speechless!

My opponent failed to respond to my counterargument, therefore my conclusions stand unchallenged. Vote Con!
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
This entire premise is patently (pun intended) ridiculous. Exactly what incentive would companies have to spend tens or hundreds of millions of dollars developing drugs if the moment they are released the Government can swoop in and take away the patent? Without the promise of profit, the financing to develop such drugs in the first place ceases to exist. R&D doesn't exist without a profit motive. If you take away the profit potential, R&D ceases to exist hence there WON'T BE any life saving drugs for the government to legally steal.
Posted by Xera 9 years ago
Xera
This could have been a very interesting debate. Shame PRO dropped out.
Posted by stephylewis 9 years ago
stephylewis
Gosh JoeBob,I think you left her speechless.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Killer542 9 years ago
Killer542
Veritas_LDerJoeBobTied
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Vote Placed by lorca 9 years ago
lorca
Veritas_LDerJoeBobTied
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Vote Placed by mmadderom 9 years ago
mmadderom
Veritas_LDerJoeBobTied
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Vote Placed by Logical-Master 9 years ago
Logical-Master
Veritas_LDerJoeBobTied
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Vote Placed by Xera 9 years ago
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Veritas_LDerJoeBobTied
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Vote Placed by stephylewis 9 years ago
stephylewis
Veritas_LDerJoeBobTied
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Vote Placed by JoeBob 9 years ago
JoeBob
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