In a digital age, those who own information own the future. Big tech companies such as Google and Facebook have the power to shape what we think and do. They are also monopolies built on closed, proprietary information — their algorithms, their software and their databases. Similar monopolies exist in the pharmaceutical industry, leaving millions around the world struggling to access the medications they need to survive.
At its most extreme, the current situation threatens our fundamental economic and social freedoms: free enterprise and free markets are disintegrating in the face of monopoly, free choice means little when there is only one, freedom from ill health is impossible if drugs are not affordable, and even freedom of thought is threatened by powerful interests that have the capacity to shape how we think and act. The rules underpinning our economic system were designed for physical, not digital objects. To tackle the challenges of the digital age, we need something new.
Life Itself Labs co-founder Dr. Rufus Pollock has previously outlined how a new system of remuneration rights could replace the intellectual property system and support open access to the world’s information for all, while still providing the financial incentives needed for innovation.
Our team has also demonstrated how such a system could be applied to the pharmaceutical industry, enabling millions of people worldwide to access life saving medications.