Why didn't I think of that...

no, not particularly well — that will guarantee disclosure of existing products; it will not guarantee investment in r&d.

medicine is incredibly expensive, difficult, and risky to invent but rather easy to manufacture once it’s composition is known. (“the second pill costs 5 dollars to make; the first costs $500 million.”). by inventing a medicine without a patent system, there’s a huge positive externality problem — the first mover incurs a huge private cost in exchange for a benefit they can only partially capture, so you would expect below optimal levels of investment in medical research (you wouldn’t expect investment in research in those cases where the total social benefit exceeds the total social cost but where private cost exceeds private benefit patent protection solves the market failure; that’s a socially-netaefficient investment that ideally would take place, but the market failure would prevent). the parent system is intended to solve that externality issue and ensure innovation in medicine.

the problem obviously is it needs to be balanced with access.

eventually people get good at gaming the system and extending their monopoly rights — the “evergreening” of medicine patents — usually by claiming a patentably distinct improvement that is medically similar, and then only producing the new patented version/encouraging doctors to prescribe only the new version (reducing the incentive to manufacture the off-patent, generic version of the older version of the drug).

a good solution, imo, would to have publicly-funded generics after a medicine goes off-patent (w/ maybe a medical board deciding which medicines are worth public production once the patent claims expire)

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