Stop Big Pharma gambling on patented molecules at the expense of patients in need.

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Stop Big Pharma gambling on patented molecules at the expense of patients in need.

This petition had 203 supporters
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Rand Paul (Senator) and

Why this petition matters

Started by Hedley Rees


Pharmaceutical companies game patent law to create monopolies and oligopolies that keep prices sky high, often with eye watering increases every year. This article in the HBR, titled How Pharma Companies Game the System to Keep Drugs Expensive, from Erin Fox at the University of Utah hospital, explains the details of how it is done. Erin has been heroic in her efforts to campaign for change, with no avail to date


The impact of this is especially damaging to patients in the United States. Who can forget the tragic case of Alec Raeshawn Smith, whose body stopped producing insulin when he was 24 – he had become a Type 1 diabetic. This article How Insulin Became Unaffordable is a heart rending account of how this young man ceased to be covered by his parent's insurance, and without anyone knowing, began to ration his insulin, with fatal results - impossible not to shed a tear over this sickening tragedy, nor wonder how the executive boards within the pharmaceutical manufacturers sleep at night.


So this is the issue and it's not going away any time soon - drug prices are kept artifically high by clever manipulation of patents, irrespective of a patient's ability to pay. To make it worse, often drug manufacturers' R&D effort is funded by taxpayers, through research grants.

I'm not the only person saying this of course, there are millions. Here is an expert, Peter C. Gøtzsche, Professor, DrMedSci, MD, MSc, Copenhagen, who has been banging this drum for many a year. In his paper for Wiley, 2018, "Patients not patents: Drug research and development as a public enterprise" Professor Gøtzsche makes the following point:

"The main problem is that the current system is based on patents and monopolies, which allow companies to set their price as they want. This system is unethical, as people may die if they cannot get access to the drug they need. It is also inefficient, as research knowledge is not shared, for example about toxicology and failed projects. Furthermore, the TRIPS‐plus provisions prohibit generic manufacturers from using clinical trial data submitted by brand manufacturers."


For me personally, as someone who has worked inside the industry for 40 years and witnessed the increasing chasm between pharmaceutical companies' and their customer base, it has been soul destroying.

When I wrote Supply Chain Management in the Drug Industry: Delivering Patient Value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics, for Wiley, published in 2011, I was forthright on the many problems associated with focusing on patents for profit, rather than on patients. Four further books later, of various lengths and target audiences, and there has been no improvement, only continued disconnection.

COVID-19 has been the pudding that provides the proof...


The aim of this petition is to call on certain Politicians in the United States, ones I have identified as 'the good guys' (there are probably more I don't know of) to raise an inquiry into the pernicious effects of this archaic patenting system, with a view to correcting the issues identified here.

We know of at least one patient who has died because his medication was unaffordable - we owe it to Nicole Smith-Holt, Alec's mother, to fight for massive change. 

This petition NEEDS YOU - please sign and share if you possibly can, no matter what part of the world you live - and let's get #PatientsNotPatents trending on Twitter!

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