Open Source Surgery

Currently, robot-assisted surgery today is dominated by the da Vinci Surgical System.  The device is highly regarded, but is heavy (weighs half a ton) and expensive ($1.8m).  Plus it uses proprietary software, which means that physicians and engineers not associated with da Vinci cannot alter its operating system. Change is on the horizon, however. “None…

Patenting Genes

In general, I am weary of patents (see my Healthcare Manifesto and Against Intellectual Property posts). Sure, they may be useful to spur innovation, but they also harm innovation since one cannot modify or improve a product while there is still a patent. Further, patents generate rent-seeking where inventors spent tons of time wrangling to…

Patents in India

The enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in less developed countries is currently a topic of much public debate. Whether it is protecting the copyrights of Western recording artists or preventing `copycat’ technology goods, OECD countries are attempting to compel less developed countries (LDCs) to enforce IPR in their country. No area of IPR enforcement…

Importation and Innovation

Would drug importation from countries such as Canada be welfare improving for the U.S.? In the short run, the answer is yes. Lower prices will made pharmaceuticals more affordable and more pharmaceutical consumption closer to the static equilibrium level. In the long run, however, lower drug company profits may lead to less innovation in terms…