It’s Time For Open Source Medical Research
The more I read and hear about open source the more great uses I discover. My wife and I are heavy users of the medical system and I have often wondered, while looking at my bills, how to not only lower costs, but improve service.
I saw an article on Techdirt a while back that talked about how researchers in India had come up with some great discoveries from mapping the TB gene and are now are not only refusing to patent them, but allowing their work to be used and shared for free.
I believe that copyright and IP have gotten completely out of control in this country (and others) and have come to believe that the way to control medical costs it to open research to all and to require those that use this information in their work to allow free access to that as well. Much like the GPL.
There are those who say that without these artificial protections there would be no innovation in the medical (or any other) industry. I believe that is simply not true. Opening up medical research to all would eliminate a huge amount of duplication and allow others to easily concentrate on improving existing innovations instead of reinventing the wheel over and over. There would still be plenty of money to go around, it would just not be concentrated in the hands of a few huge companies.
Much has been said about health care reform lately, but I really don’t expect the government to help with this idea without a huge amount of public pressure. They are far too indebted to the big pharmaceutical companies who will fight tooth and nail to stop an idea like this. These big companies are making much too much by hoarding their ideas and stopping anyone else from even thinking about using them. It’s creating a poor system that’s fast becoming unaffordable for everyone.
These things usually start small, like Linux and grow slowly at first, but then the really good ideas become unstoppable. The Indian research is the first that I’ve heard of this, but lets hope it not the last and is an idea who’s time has come.