Book Review: Pharmaceutical Innovation, Competition and Patent Law – A Trilateral Perspective

By Timo Minssen

Following a request by the European Competition Law Review (Sweet Maxwell), I have today submitted a review of the recent publication  “Pharmaceutical Innovation, Competition and Patent Law – A Trilateral Perspective”, edited by Max Planck Director Josef Drexl and Finnish scholar Nari Lee (Edward Elgar 2013, 322 p., ISBN 978 0 85793 245 7). The full contribution (6 pp.) is curently undergoing peer-review.

In summary, I conclude that the editors, who also contributed with excellent papers, have succeeded very well in the difficult task of structuring, systemizing and arranging a compilation of very interesting papers written by high profile authors. This has resulted in a very readable book providing a superb overview and up-to-date analysis of recent developments that have such a substantial impact on a significant area of law and practice. But are there any flaws?

Considering the numerous useful case law citations, as well as the wide scope of the book, it is a little unfortunate that the book does not contain a table of cases or a bibliography of material cited by the respective authors. Also it might perhaps have been beneficial to include some contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, private practice or NGOs. There is of course no doubt that all papers have been written by very competent authors and address real-world issues with much devotion to facts, details and commercial realities. But additional contributions by the industry or “field workers” would probably have enriched the numerous debates that are placed in such an extraordinarily complex environment at the interface of business realities, competition, technological innovation, and access to health care.

Leaving aside these minor formalities I have studied this book with great pleasure and interest. Although I might personally not always fully agree with some of the findings and proposals presented in it, the overall theme of the book indeed reflects the most important aspects of “Pharmaceutical Innovation, Competition and Patent Law”. It provides valuable analyses of the fundamental challenges that the pharmaceutical sector encounters on both a global and regional level.

The editors and authors have thus compiled an important publication that will provide stimulation and inspiration to many scholars and their students interested in pharmaceutical innovation. For the reason mention above, this book should also be of great interest to stakeholders, policy makers, judges and practitioners in intellectual property, competition law and life science regulation, as well as pharmaceutical companies and regulators.

To cut it short: This is an enjoyable, readable and interesting book containing thorough studies of “hot” legal issues in the pharma sector converging in an decisive era for pharmaceutical innovation. It ought to be found in any library that has reserved space for pharma-, IP- or competition law-related literature.

I will post a link to the complete book review, as soon as it is accepted and available.

Timo Minssen

Timo Minssen

Timo Minssen is Professor of Law at the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) and the Founder and Managing Director of UCPH's Center for Advanced Studies in Biomedical Innovation Law (CeBIL). His research concentrates on Intellectual Property-, Competition & Regulatory Law with a special focus on new technologies in the pharma, life science & biotech sectors including biologics and biosimilars. His studies comprise a plethora of legal issues emerging in the lifecycle of biotechnological and medical products and processes - from the regulation of research and incentives for innovation to technology transfer and commercialization.

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