The story of one of the most contentious fights in human history: the legal right to produce lifesaving medicines. Medical science began as a discipline geared toward the betterment of all human life, but the merging of research with intellectual property and the rise of the pharmaceutical industry warped and eventually undermined its ethical foundations. Since World War II, federally funded research has facilitated most major medical breakthroughs, yet these drugs are often wholly controlled by price-gouging corporations with growing international ambitions. Why does the U.S. government fund the development of medical science in the name of the public only to relinquish exclusive rights to drug companies, and how does such a system impoverish us, weaken our responses to crises, and, as in the cases of AIDS and COVID-19, put the world at risk?
The wide-ranging history of the patent and intellectual property system included in the book illustrates that Salk’s view was and is very much in the minority ... Part history lesson on intellectual property and part damning critique of the private interests that blocked an attempt to subject COVID vaccines to IP restrictions, Zaitchik’s book is highly informative and deeply troubling reading. It will appeal to readers concerned with equitable access to medicine and responsible corporate governance.
A biting study ... The author gives a dense but clear history of how scientific patents have promoted 'monopoly medicine' ... While big pharma often gets the sole blame for soaring drug prices, this book is a brave and timely reminder that politicians and corporate titans have enabled its excesses. A trenchant study of the dangers of turning medical knowledge into private intellectual property.