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Additional resources for Science, Industry and the State. Office of Health Economics Symposium Held at Royal Society of Health, Buckingham Palace Road, London

Sample text

But this has three serious defects. First, the product of research, new knowledge, is intangible and so open to exploitation by competitors. The only safeguard is the patchy protection afforded by the patent system. Second, research costs can be related to results only retrospectively, not prospectively; the risks of failure are high. Risks can be spread according to the principle of large numbers, but this involves large-scale organization of research, with size determined by the chances of research success.

Through patent protection and product promotion, the industry is charging high prices for products that could be made cheaply available in standard form. The medical profession is persuaded into prescribing branded products instead of standard preparations by commercial pressure. The price difference between a branded and a standard product is used to finance this massive selling programme. Thus all the public is getting for much of the amount spent on pharmaceuticals is a wholly unnecessary and wasteful advertising campaign.

Industrial Research in Manufacturing Industry, 1959-60, p. 7. Advisory Council on Scientific Policy, Report 1963-64, p. 10, Cmnd. 2538. CONNOR, J. T. Drugs in Our Society (ed. ), p. 117. , 1964. DUCKWORTH, A. (1959) Rise of the Pharmaceutical Industry. Chemist and Druggist 172, 127. 6. CHAIN, E. B. (1964) Academic and Industrial Contributions to Drug Research, Journ. A. CXI, 856. 7. YULE BOGUE (1962) Economics of Research in the Pharmaceutical Industry, Pharm. J. 188,5215,27. 8. I. Annual Report 1963-64.

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