Medical innovation without profit?

Is this a loony-left alternative?

“abolishing the patent system” plus “open-source pharmaceuticals movement [which] is experimenting with using prizes as an incentive for teams of volunteer scientists to work on new treatment approaches. Once invented and tested, the drugs would be free for any firm to make.”

No – it’s from right-wing business magazine The Economist. I’m  finding some interesting snippets in this  magazine since I’ve recently got a subscription. The article goes on to conclude (with advice even conservative governments could take, if they weren’t cosy with or scared of Big Pharma):

“Realistically, though, the chances that new approaches to research will dramatically cut the cost of medicines look slender. That leaves more administrative approaches. It could be made easier to import cheap copies of unpatented drugs made in other countries. Buyers of medicines could share more information about the different prices they are being charged for the same pills. They might be firmer in refusing to pay over the odds for new treatments that offer marginal gains. Medicare, America’s health system for the elderly, could be allowed to try to negotiate with the drugmakers, something it is banned from doing now. If the producers are becoming more efficient, the buyers should respond.”

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