Bioterrorism Countermeasure Development: Issues in Patents and Homeland Security [Updated January 17, 2006] [open pdf - 107KB]
From the Document: "Congressional interest in the development of bioterrorism countermeasures remains strong, even after passage of legislation establishing Project BioShield. In the 109th Congress, several bills have been introduced, including S. 3, the Protecting America in the War on Terror Act, S. 975, the Project Bioshield II Act, and S. 1873, the Biodefense and Pandemic Vaccine and Drug Development Act, that would generate additional incentives for the creation of new technologies to counteract potential biological threats. These bills propose reforms to current policies and practices associated with intellectual property, particularly patents, and the marketing of pharmaceuticals and related products...Encouraging the development of new counterterrorism technologies and ensuring affordable access to new drugs and medical devices are both significant goals. These aspirations may potentially conflict, however. Introducing augmented patent- and exclusivity-based incentives may stimulate innovative firms to engage in the R&D for new countermeasures, as well as to shepherd these products through time-consuming and costly marketing approval procedures. Commentators have expressed concern, however, over whether such heightened protections for innovators will be in proportion with the risks and costs of developing new countermeasures. Striking a balance between encouraging the development of new countermeasures and maintaining the traditional goals of our public health system is a central concern of the current discussion with respect to homeland security."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32917