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No Pharmaceuticals Without Incentives

August 06, 2003

"The Rx for Industry's Double Standard," by Robert Kuttner (Commentary, Aug. 3), doesn't go quite far enough in calling for reduced patent length for pharmaceutical companies. Let's get rid of patents entirely and thereby eliminate the power of those exploiting drug companies. Oh, wait! Wouldn't that mean that the companies would stop investing billions of dollars in research and development and putting up with a maze of government regulations? Wouldn't that mean that new lifesaving drugs and diagnostic tests would never be produced? Kuttner and his ilk need to learn a lesson that even the former Soviet bloc has learned: People won't produce if they have no right to the fruits of their labor. Doesn't sound like a healthy situation, does it?

Judith A. Berliner

Professor

UCLA School of Medicine

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