Economist: An open-source shot in the arm?

No less a publication than The Economist has this to say about Open Source: ‘Can goodwill, aggregated over the internet, produce good medicine?…Pharmaceutical companies have little incentive to develop treatments for diseases that particularly afflict the poor, for example, since the people who need such treatments most may not be able to afford them.

It is in this environment that a number of medical biologists, lawyers, entrepreneurs and health-care activists have sought improvements. They have suggested borrowing the �open-source� approach that has proven so successful in another area of technology, namely software development. This is a decentralised form of production in which the underlying programming instructions, or �source code�, for a given piece of software are made freely available. Anyone can look at it, modify it, or improve it, provided they agree to share their modifications under the same terms. Volunteers collaborating in this way over the internet have produced some impressive software: the best-known example is the Linux operating system. So why not apply the open-source model to drug development too?… Thanks to Jaap Suermondt for this link.

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