Years ago someone wrote what I’ve been trying to say, only he wrote it much better, got his book published in 2006, and I never heard about it until I bought his book at a library book sale. I didn’t even get to the main point on page 536-7 until yesterday.
Author: Michael Crichton, Title: NEXT
Page 536-7

“Rescind the Bayh-Doyle Act. In 1980, Congress decided that the discoveries made within universities were not being made widely available, to benefit the public. To move things along, it passed a law permitting university researchers to sell their discoveries for their own profit, even when that research had been funded by taxpayer money.
As a result of this legislation, most science professors now have corporate ties, either to companies they have started or to other biotech companies.
Thirty years ago, there was a distint difference in approach between university research and that of private industry. Today the
distinction is blurred, or absent. Thirty years ago, disinterested scientists were available to discuss any subject affecting the public. Now, scientists have personal interests that influence their judgment. Academic institutions have changed in unexpected ways: The original Bayh-Dole legislation recognized that universities were not commercial entities, and encouraged them to make their research available to organizations that were. But today, universities attempt to maximize profits by conducting more and more commercial work themselves, thus making their products more valuable to them when they are finally licensed. For example, if universities think they have a new drug, they will do the FDA testing themselves, and so on. Thus Bayh-Dole has, paradoxically, increased the commerical focus of the university. Many observers judge the effect of this legislation to be corrupting and destructive to universities as institutions of learning. Bayh-Dole was always of uncertain benefit to the American taxpayers, who became, through their government, uniquely generous investors. Taxpayers finance research, but when it bears fruit, the researchers sell it for their own institutional and personal gain, after which the drug is sold back to the taxpayers. Consumers thus pay top dollar for a drug they helped finance. Ordinarily, when a venture capitalist invests in research, he or she expects a significant return on investment. The American taxpayer gets no return at all. …the drawbacks far outweigh the benefits…repeal Bayh-Dole legislation.”

The author of this book, Michael Crichton, died after it was published. Copyright 2006 by Michael Crichton

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