The current paper discusses the article written by Llewellyn Hinkes-Jones “Bad Science,” where the author describes the goals and the key principles of the modern medical science and provides an argumentative critique of the free market academic research policies. His main idea is that the primary goal of the existing approach is to earn more money, which often runs counter to the people’s interests. This paper provides an analysis and supportive arguments of the main concept of the article.
Hinkes-Jones points out that the Bayh-Dole Act, which was adopted in 1980, has completely changed the situation regarding the ownership of inventions which were sponsored by federal money. In other words, after 1980, universities received a permit to sell their scientific discoveries in order to attract more money. On the one hand, all researches require a lot of funds. Thus, the scope of scientific developments was less than it could be. On the other hand, the private companies became interested in investing into universities’ science, as they can become the only owners of a specific invention, which, in turn, can be used to create new services and products for the public.
In fact, the Bayh-Dole Act converted independent science into the dependent one. Unfortunately, the reality proves that, as long as the universities received insufficient funding, they have turned the process of scientific research into business. The universities do their best to receive more funding, while the private companies buy the intellectual property rights in order to convert them into enormous profits from new medications. Birch Bayh and Bob Dole, who were the senators that sponsored the legislation act, have helped to privatize the public university system (Hinkes-Jones, 2014).
I strongly agree with the author’s opinion regarding the privatization of academic researches. The new approach in this field has transformed the priorities from the desire to discover something new to earning money. Scientists have become a tool for pharmaceutical companies to do what they need but not what the humanity needs. Moreover, it is wrong that the company may choose any price it wants for a specific product, and there will be no alternatives and no chances to decrease the price. People have already paid for the researches with their taxes, but they have to overpay again for the medicines nowadays.
Health is one of the most important values for humanity, which cannot be compared with any amount of money. All the health-related issues should stay away from business and commerce. It is totally wrong when one company has a monopoly on a specific medication and can use it for enrichment. This results in the emergence of low-quality pills and vitamins, which are advertised to have certain properties that are absent. Moreover, the companies strive to create their products as quickly as possible, so the medicines, sometimes, are improperly checked and may have harmful effects. The variety of pills on the pharmacies’ shelves has become a number one reason for deaths. The majority of them are sedatives, stimulants, and painkillers, which cause addiction and dependence.
It is clear that, after almost 35 years of the Bayh-Dole Act adoption, the positive changes, which were expected to occur, are absent. Instead, the science has become a business. Every economist knows that a monopoly cannot bring anything good to the economy and to the market. Thus, it is crucial to overthink the legislative innovations that were made in 1980 and to change the situation.
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Health cannot be a business issue, and commerce is odd here. It is definitely up to the government to take care of scientific funding, as it is chosen by people to represent their interests. In the current case, the interest is not to pay for the researches which do not belong to taxpayers, in the end, but are sold to private companies for personal use. The problem is that those companies have a great power and may influence the governmental decisions. Still, it is possible to take control over this. First of all, governmental officials should cancel the Bayh-Dole Act, as it is the main legislative act which allows academic institutions to sell their intellectual rights. The next step should be the reorganization of universities’ funding structure, to make them independent from private companies’ money and interested in making high-quality researches. Today, scientists are not free to do what they think is right. From time to time, they are asked to speak at the conferences in order to support the company, its products or services. They may share their successful experience of using or prescribing a certain drug with amazing effects and results, however, it is nothing else than an advertisement and promotion.
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The cost of medications is enormously high nowadays, and it keeps growing every day. People spend too much money on pills and other medical products, while the profit goes directly to the companies that produce them. In general, this hurts the economy, as people have to cut their expenses on other less important needs in order to pay for medications. The benefits go to the limited number of pharmaceutical companies. Actually, all this became possible due to the adoption of the Bayh-Dole Act. The only way out of this situation is strong legislative regulations and control over the scientific inventions, research institutions’ funding, as well as quality and properties of the products.
The article “Bad Science” written by Hinkes-Jones, criticizes the modern approach to the pharmaceutical industry, which received an opportunity to gain high profits due to the adoption of the Bayh-Dole Act in 1980, which allows research institutions to sell their intellectual property rights to the private companies. This resulted in a rush for wealth instead of the development of high-quality products. Pharmaceutical companies get richer, while people have to spend significant parts of their income on the pills and other medications, which are sometimes unnecessary or even harmful. This, in turn, influences the economic situation in the country, as people cannot afford to spend their money on other, less important, goods and services. Unfortunately, the current situation has transformed science into a business. The only way to cope with this is the cancelation of the Bayh-Dole Act, as well as strict regulations and control over the research institutions and their funding. These changes will make the scientists independent, and their researches will serve the interests of humanity, but not a limited number of companies.