Why are drug prices so high? Investigating the outdated US patent system | Priti Krishtel | Summary and Q&A

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Why are drug prices so high? Investigating the outdated US patent system | Priti Krishtel

TL;DR

In this thought-provoking talk, the speaker discusses the outdated patent system and its impact on drug prices and access to medicine, proposing five reforms to create a patent system that serves the public.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What moment led to Rudy falling in love with the speaker's father?

Rudy fell in love with the speaker's father when he learned that the pharmaceutical scientist had developed a drug for idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, the disease that had taken Rudy's own father's life 15 years ago.

Q: What is the speaker's family's special love and reverence for?

The speaker's family has a special love and reverence for her father's inventions, particularly his patents. They have framed patents on the wall in their house and attribute their own successes to America enabling her father's potential as an inventor.

Q: What problem did the speaker discuss with the director of the US Patent Office?

The speaker discussed the issue of how the outdated patent system is fueling the high cost of medicines and costing lives with the director of the US Patent Office.

Q: How are rising drug costs impacting people?

Rising drug costs are pushing families into homelessness, seniors into bankruptcy, and parents to crowdfund treatment for their critically ill children. The speaker emphasizes that people are struggling or even dying because they cannot afford the medications they need.

Q: What is one reason for the current crisis in drug prices?

One reason for the crisis in drug prices is the outdated patent system. Corporations have teams of lawyers and lobbyists whose sole job is to extend patent protection as long as possible, leading to monopolies and the ability to set prices at whim.

Q: How long did it take for the US Patent Office to issue its first five million patents compared to its next five million?

It took the US Patent Office 155 years to issue its first five million patents, but only 27 years to issue the next five million. The speaker argues that this drastic increase is not due to a rise in inventiveness, but rather to corporations gaming the system.

Q: What is the speaker proposing as a solution to the current patent system?

The speaker proposes five reforms to create a modern patent system that serves the public. These include raising the bar for obtaining patents, changing the financial incentives of the Patent Office, increasing public participation, granting the right to go to court for the public, and establishing stronger oversight through an independent unit.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • A personal story about how meeting someone who shared a connection to a pharmaceutical drug led to a realization about the importance of patents and their impact on healthcare access.

  • The outdated patent system is contributing to the high cost of medicines and causing a global crisis in access to medication.

  • Five reforms are proposed to modernize the patent system, including raising the bar for patent approval, changing the financial incentives of the Patent Office, increasing public participation, granting the right to go to court, and establishing stronger oversight.

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