Inventors figure out how to create something that is better than what existed before, and then protect their rights to the idea/creation with a patent. This is a fundamental principle of private property, one which our nation’s entire economic system is based.
The U.S. Constitution enshrines this basic idea into the DNA of our nation as Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 known as the Patent and Copyright Clause plainly states, “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
But the Biden administration is now supporting unilaterally ending patents on medicines (science) by invoking something called “march-in-rights” which ends patent protections and allows the federal government to steal the intellectual property of drug makers. The justification for this taking is the use of federally funded research in creating the medicines.
Let’s be clear. This rationale is absurd. There is a reason why it costs an average of over $2 billion of private money to bring a drug to market, and that is because primary research does not create products. It creates and validates theories and ideas. Private entities sometimes build off of these theories and ideas to put together the pieces to make a chemical based, or biologic based medicine, but there are hundreds of failures in that process, before modern medicines which save and make lives better are approved for sale to the public.
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The Biden approach to just steal the hundreds of billions of dollars in research costs along with the work of thousands of scientists is purportedly to force the prices of the most complicated, difficult to create medicines down. The result would be the end of any incentive for private corporations to invest in these new drugs. After all, who would invest in developing new medicines knowing that if successful the federal government will take control of it?
Biden should know better as his home state of Delaware has historically been a birthplace of many inventions as the home of EleuthA re Irenee DuPont, the founder of the DuPont Corporation, and the Dow Chemical Company. Delaware has some of the strongest patent protection laws in the nation, and their favorite son in the White House seeks to rip them asunder.
The President, as a Senator with long experience on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, is undoubtedly also aware of the destructive impact to a once economically thriving Venezuela when dictator Hugo Chavez took control and abolished patents stating, “A song is intellectual property, but an invention or a scientific discovery should be knowledge for the world, especially medicine,” and, “That a laboratory does not allow us to make a medicine because they have the patent, no, no, no.”
Unfortunately, this is the same economically illiterate White House which is demanding that automakers, who the President just strong-armed into signing new union contracts that dramatically increase their labor costs, should also continue to drown the market in electric vehicles which Ford Motor Company reports cost $36,000 more to make than people are willing to pay with a full-year loss estimated at $4.5 billion.
But just because the Biden administration would fail a community college Econ 101 class does not mean that their actions to break patents won’t be subject to basic economic laws. If innovation is not profitable, innovators and those who invest in innovation will put their time and money into something else.
Remember that the Founders knew the impact of intellectual property on scientific advancement as the Patent and Copyright clause starts, “To Promote the progress of Science…” Tearing up that clause even for the last year of the Biden administration destroys applied science innovation in the future.
As investors decide where to put their resources, the current precedent of stealing patent rights leads directly to future research decisions to avoid the risk of having the resulting products appropriated by the federal government at a political whim. This would dramatically shrink the amount of money spent on medical innovation, and prevent the development of the most expensive and innovative new medicines to treat everything from Alzheimers to genetic disorders.
For those who don’t understand why this is true, ask yourself if you would direct your 401(k) retirement fund to invest in an industry where their products are price controlled and their innovations are threatened with government theft?
Anyone answering this question honestly knows that they would not, and the institutional investors and venture capitalists presented with many choices for investment won’t either effectively starving true medical innovators of the cash needed to bring an idea through the federally mandated testing to market.
Under the patent-free environment Biden is pushing, only a fool would invest in new medicines.
And the truth is, only a fool would strip away the patent protections which make those new life saving medicines possible.
The author is president of Americans for Limited Government.
Cross-posted with The Daily Torch
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