After explaining why such a policy is unlawful, Professor Mossoff, goes on to explain the vital role of patents in medical research:

Legality aside, threatening biotech companies to seize their patents is a surefire way to kill the ability of this vital industry to develop these lifesaving drugs and vaccines.

Patents have long served an indispensable role in spurring medical treatments. Economists at Tufts University estimate that each new drug approved by the FDA results from on average 10-15 years of research and $2.6 billion in investments. For each FDA-approved drug, there are thousands of failures in the drug research pipeline. These massive research and development efforts are supported by over $129 billion in funding by private companies (as of 2019), more than triple the amount of $43 billion in public funding provided by the federal government that same year.

Note that this $43 billion in ‘public funding’ is confiscated from taxpayers — confiscated from the profits of medical companies by unequal (“progressive”) double-taxation of corporate profits (the company is taxed on its profits, and then the shareholders are taxed again when they receive earnings from these profits either through taxing of capital gains and/or dividends.)

In sum, it’s expensive, time-consuming, and risky to invent new drugs. Patents provide vital legal security to secure the fruits of these inventive labors, allowing companies to recoup past R&D efforts and fund even more. Future drug treatments for the coronavirus are no exception.

This is the market at work, as those who are successful at making new drugs are rewarded for their efforts, and receive more funds to build upon that success. This is how the market under capitalism ‘allocates’ capital.

If the federal government twists its own laws and arbitrarily threatens to expropriate these patents, then private research funding will grow scarce. Pharmaceutical companies invest thousands of hours and billions of dollars to save lives and increase everyone’s quality of life, but they cannot continue to do this if they face arbitrary expropriation of the fruits of their labors. More patients will suffer and die as a result of this deadly pandemic and future pandemics.

This future awaits us if leaders in Washington twist and abuse Bayh-Dole’s march-in provision.