July 22, 2023
The New York Times ran a piece this morning claiming that Gilead delayed the introduction of a new drug for treating HIV because it wanted to take full advantage of the patent life for its drug Truvada, which was a huge blockbuster for the company. The new drug has a patent life that runs to 2031. Truvada’s patent expired in 2017.
This is the sort of corruption that economics predicts would result from the government granting monopolies that allow drug companies to charge prices that are several thousand percent above the free market price. Unfortunately, news outlets are not open to allowing alternative incentive mechanisms to be discussed, so we are likely to be stuck with patent monopoly financing no matter how much damage is caused by the system’s corruption.