By Laura Karas
Are manufacturing method patents — patents not on a pharmaceutical drug itself, but on a method of production of a drug — warranted intellectual property protections, or groundless obstacles to competition?
Patents protect and reward innovation by permitting the patent-holder the exclusive right to make, use, and sell the invention for a twenty-year period. Pharmaceutical companies have attracted scrutiny, criticism, and legal challenges for amassing large numbers of patents on pharmaceutical drugs, especially high-priced and high revenue-earning drugs.
Here I explore the topic of pharmaceutical patents on methods of production and translate into layman’s terms some thought-provoking recent scholarship by innovation scholars W. Nicholson Price and Arti Rai.