Government price controls could threaten UW research

Those of us engaged in Wisconsin’s innovation economy had a good summer. The recently passed CHIPS and Science Act authorizes historic investments in research that will accelerate the development of new technologies to solve global problems.

That investment could come to naught, however, if a faction of interest groups pressuring the Biden administration gets its way. These groups want the administration to misuse a 1980 law known as the Bayh-Dole Act due to a mistaken belief that doing so would lower drug prices. Seeing just how misguided that approach would be requires understanding the pipeline that develops basic research into commercial products.

The bipartisan Bayh-Dole Act granted universities the right to seek patents on any discoveries in their labs resulting from federally funded research. It also created a framework for universities to license those patents, in exchange for royalties, to companies with the expertise and capital to turn basic university research into real-world products.

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