An interesting point that Dr. Schuchat brought up during her keynote speech is how the early detection of H1N1 resulted from an investigatory medical device. The availability of this screening device was limited and delayed the response to H1N1. How can we balance the intellectual property rights of a medical discovery (e.g. industry or academic) and the societal need for medically beneficial discoveries to the public?
So, how do you feel scientific discoveries such as the diagnostic test for H1N1 or a vaccine for H1N1 should be disseminated to those who need it? Who should pay for it?
Is there a way to make these discoveries widely available and affordable for the high need populations (i.e. generic drugs)?
Or do the rights of intellectual property (patent) holders, such as pharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, give those companies the right to restrict availability of the technology and set prices?
Does your answer change if the capital that funded the research & development came entirely from the company? What if the majority of the funding that lead to the discovery came from public funding (e.g. National Institute of Health (NIH), Center of Disease Control (CDC), or among other governmental bodies that are funded by our tax dollars)?