Patents Lead to Breakthroughs in Medical Technology

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After reading my post ‘The Patent-Innovation Circle of Progress’, many of my friends called me up to express their opinions, for or against. After hearing all sorts of views, I’d like to point out here that I hadn’t drawn any inferences in my post; I simply made an observation based on a couple of quotes in an article in

But whether or not everyone agrees that patents and innovations complement each other, what struck me from talking to so many people was that they believed that this was a very new issue. I’d like to draw your attention to an article in the New York Times which was published more than a decade ago (May 13, 1995).

An excerpt:

"Some people mistakenly assume that breakthrough medical technologies will occur without patents, but they will not," said Lisa Raines, vice president for government affairs at the Genzyme Corporation in Cambridge, Mass., which is working on gene therapies for cystic fibrosis and also owns part of a company that is developing transgenic goats that produce valuable drugs in their milk.

Ms. Raines noted that biotechnology companies must raise tens of millions of dollars years before they have a marketable product, and patents provide the only assurance of being able to profit in the event that high-risk research is successful.

Same issue. Same conclusion.

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