Why pharma's patents are a drug on the market

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VT Sen Sanders during his filibuster speech, on 10 December 2010, against the proposed extension of Bush-era tax cuts and other measures agreed by President Obama with congressional Republicans. Drugs are cheap. There are few drugs that would sell for more than $5-$10 a prescription in a free market. However, many drugs in the U S sell for hundreds of dollars per prescription and, sometimes, several thousand dollars per prescription. There is a simple reason for this fact: government-granted patent monopolies.We can do better – and Sen Sanders has proposed a way. He has introduced a bill to create a prize fund that would buy up patents, so that drugs could then be sold at a free market price. His bill would appropriate 0.55% of GDP (about $80bn a year, with the economy's current size) for buying up patents, which would then be placed in the public domain so that any manufacturer could

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At www.guardian.co.uk

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