Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub,
MD, Senior Editor.
In Reply: These letters illustrate the challenges
in reconciling the interests of university researchers, biotechnology and
pharmaceutical companies, and the public. We agree with Dr Lempert that the
public interest mission of universities must be preserved. We must not strip
these delicate institutions of the special values that set universities apart
from corporations. But it still should be possible to enable universities
to benefit from the fruits of their research in order to support that very
mission. Mr Sobolski notes the poverty of most academic technology licensing
programs (we agree), and cites the concept of a patent-free approach to innovation
as 1 possible solution to these difficulties. However, we believe that the
biomedical industry would likely not participate in such a system, even if
universities did. As a result, the new set of winners would be these companies’
stockholders, while the new set of losers would be most academic researchers.
Kesselheim AS, Avorn J. Biotechnology Products and University-Based Science—Reply. JAMA. 2005;293(23):2861-2863. doi:10.1001/jama.293.23.2863-a