The authors address how patent protection in the United States is often quite narrow in scope, difficult to obtain, and insufficient in duration, thus stifling research and development of potential breakthrough pharmaceuticals. The authors further posit that countries that have enacted stronger intellectual property rights and research incentives have seen tremendous increases in foreign direct investment. In addressing critics of the current patent system, the authors show that alternatives to biotechnology patents would not demonstrably improve innovation and development of beneficial medicines. The authors conclude that given the substantial evidence of the patent system's benefits, and the mere speculation that patents have a deleterious effect on patients, no suggestions currently proposed to replace or improve the patent system will have the same beneficial effects for patients.

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