Many of the pharmaceutical drugs sold in the U.S. is produced and sold by a sort of government sanctioned monopoly. Companies that successfully invent a new drug can obtain a patent from the government which prevents competitors from producing that drug and thus lets the innovator temporarily enjoy monopoly power. This is creating a lot of issues however, leading many patients in need of such lifesaving drugs severely indebted, bankrupt, or worse, dead. To read more about the pharmaceutical patent system you can read the links below, though theyâ€re not meant to be entirely factually correct or unbiased; they are meant for additional context.
However, the issue present in the pharmaceutical industry is not pervasive with all industries that enjoy patent protection.
Question 1: Why is it that the pharmaceutical industry is the problem child when it comes to the patent system? What is unique about the market for drugs?
Question 2: In many cases, the patent protection given to pharmaceutical innovators creates a perverse situation in which patients in the U.S. are paying substantially higher prices compared to less wealthy countries for the exact same drug produced by the same manufacturer. Opponents of Big Pharma argue that because of this, U.S. patients are indirectly subsidizing the drug for patients from less wealthy countries by paying substantial markups on domestic drugs. This is buttressed by the fact that it is illegal to import drugs from abroad. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this argument?
Please give a concise 200- to 250-word answer
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