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Richard Epstein

January 5, 2006

Will Congress Circumvent the DMCA?


One constant theme of the consumer rights movement is that firms should make full disclosure of the terms on which they sell their wares. That theme is central to understanding H.R. 1201, the “Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act of 2005.”
The problem is that H.R. 1201 itself doesn’t engage in full disclosure when it claims to address “mislabeled copy-protected music” and “other purposes.” It turns out that those unnamed purposes are no small add-on, but could eviscerate the already inadequate protection that federal law provides against copyright piracy.
In this IPI Ideas publication, Richard Epstein points out the hidden dangers in H.R. 1201, and suggests how its sponsors should fully disclose the bill’s effects if they plan to promote it in 2006.
October 7, 2004

Does America Have a Prescription Drug Problem?: The Perils of Ignoring the Economics of Pharmaceuticals


Critics claim the pharmaceutical industry is unique and therefore requires distinctive forms of regulation, such as price controls. But absent in this view is a systematic appraisal of the economics of the industry. Were their approach adopted, the consequences would be less innovation, fewer life-saving drugs, and a less-healthy citizenry than what could be possible.

July 9, 2003

Parallel Importation as a Perversion of Free Trade


In the debate of legalizing the reimportation of prescription drugs into the U.S., some advocates claim that reimportation is a free trade issue, and that attempts to prevent reimportation are barriers against free trade. But manufacturers of such goods must preserve their ability to price discriminate, according to Dr. Richard Epstein. Price discrimination allows the "low demanders" to participate in the market. The result of large scale reimportation would be to restrict needed sales of drugs overseas, and would sap the incentive to innovate new products. Imposing statutory restrictions on reimportation is an effective substitute for a valid, if ineffective, contractual restraint on alienation that makes sense in light of the basic domestic decision to grant the full patent monopoly.
September 9, 2002

Upsetting the Balance in Prescription Drugs Senate Bill Unconstitutionally Undermines Drug Company Patents


The government can take countless steps to reduce the costs of health care. However, confiscation by a hair-trigger statute of limitations and onerous registration provisions should not be among them.

September 9, 2002

Is there a "Good" Monopoly?


Some forms of monopoly power are not the products of corporate giants trying to eliminate competition, but are granted by the federal government to achieve a social good for society as a whole. That is the case with patents, under which the federal government grants to inventors an exclusive right to make and sell a product or process as a reward to induce and encourage their creative efforts.

 

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