The recent tendency, both here and in South Africa with AIDS, is to chip away at patent protection and to lowball the compensation offered. In the short run this approach plays well before a public when resources are stretched thin. But in the long term, our stock of pharmaceuticals depreciates, and it must be replenished. It takes over a $250 million to bring a new drug to market today, and the revenues derived from a successful drug must cover not only its cost of production, but the costs of experimenting with promising products that never make it to market at all. We rightly do nothing to socialize the costs of pharmaceutical research that leads nowhere. Why then take away the fruits of a high side?
Such suspension of law and rights might almost be justifiable, and of less concern, if we were formally at war, but the government continues to refuse to make such a declaration, rendering the precedent all the more dangerous.