Patents and Progress: The Crisis in Commercialized Medical Research
James R. Brown is professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. His interests include a wide range of topics in the philosophy of science and mathematics: thought experiments, foundational issues in mathematics and physics, visual reasoning, and issues involving science and society, such as the role of commercialization in medical research. His most recent books include: Who Rules in Science: A Guide to the Wars (Harvard 2001), Platonism, Naturalism and Mathematical Knowledge (Routledge 2012), and others forthcoming.
In recent years a great deal of medical research, especially pharmaceutical, has been driven by commercial interests. The quality of this research is questionable, to put it kindly. On the other hand, the extensive distribution and overuse of antibiotics has lead to serious problems of a different sort. How can we improve the situation? Brown will examine some suggestions and offer one of his own involving the elimination of patents in this area of research.