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Billion-dollar babies | The Economist

The high cost of R&D is used to explain why drugs giants merge, and why they must charge high prices. The reality is somewhat different


“Ensuring that the benefits of greater research efficiency are fully passed on to governments and health insurers would require drastic changes, such as, say, abolishing the patent system and finding some other way to incentivise basic research. Among the more imaginative ideas in this vein, the open-source pharmaceuticals movement is experimenting with using prizes as an incentive for teams of volunteer scientists to work on new treatment approaches. Once invented and tested, the drugs would be free for any firm to make.”

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