I’ve learned from reliable sources connected with various free market think tanks around the world that various important companies, in particular pharmaceutical, have become “supporters” of such think tanks–provided, of course, that the think tank supports intellectual property rights. Could this be one reason many free market think tanks are supportive of IP despite a mounting case against it?
I wonder if this is one reason for some of Cato’s pro-patent positions. Just wondering, not accusing–but see, e.g., Cato Tugs Stray Back Onto Reservation (archive); Jude Blanchette’s The Reimportation Controversy; Protectionist Cato?; Drug Patents and Welfare (see also Epstein and Patents and Richard Epstein on “The Structural Unity of Real and Intellectual Property”). One Cato scholar, Tom Palmer, formerly very critical of patents seems also to have “evolved” in his view of pharmaceutical patents [see also my The Case Against IP: A Concise Guide, where I note: “but see recent comments here and here in which the author seems to be retreating somewhat from his previously principled opposition to the wealth-maximization arguments for patents).” — Interestingly, Palmer has deleted these pro-patent comments now from his main blog posts, but they are still available at archive.org — I reprint them below for posterity.].
And note that Cato’s pharmaceutical donors include Eli Lilly & Company, Merck & Company and Pfizer, Inc., at least according to SourceWatch (admittedly, though, the site does not provide a source for their claim, and none of these companies are listed in Cato’s Annual Report 2005 [see also Cato Annual Report 2014]).
Update: See Cato’s support of the TPP; see EFF, Trade Officials Announce Conclusion of TPP—Now the Real Fight Begins; my post Longer copyright terms, stiffer copyright penalties coming, thanks to TPP and ACTA….
Healthy Profits to Help Sick People
Do They Need Slogans or Solutions?
My friend Deroy Murdock has an especially good column today on what happens when ideological crackpots demonize the pharmaceutical firms that are inventing new treatments for AIDS.
If AIDS Activists wanted to help people suffering from the disease in poor countries, they’d promote more effective means to allow pharmaceutical firms to engage in price discrimination, charging higher prices to people who can pay more and lower prices to those who cannot. Some are doing just that and thereby demonstrating that their motivation is to help the sick, rather than to bash the successful.