Well, I'm back from my undisclosed location, ready to see what's been going on at work the past couple of days. I passed the site on the highway on the way home this evening, so I know that it's at least still there. The side of the building containing my lab was still intact, which is always a good sign.
What passes for normal blogging around here will resume shortly. For now, I wanted to point out this article from Matthew Herper at Forbes, who asks the inflammatory question: "Are Drug Patents Too Short?" His point, a valid one, is that clinical trials have tended to get longer, larger, and more expensive, while patent lifetimes aren't changing. And once a drug is off patent, no company is likely to spend the money to study it with much intensity.
The thing is, a patent extension for drug companies has, as Herper well knows, zero chance of being enacted. There are arguments for and against the idea, but we wouldn't even get that far. The inflatable bats and cream pies would come out immediately, and we'd set in dealing with this issue in the time-honored fashion. . .
The other solution is to make the clinical trials shorter and less painful, which is what the whole biomarker idea is aiming to do. So far, though, there's not much to point at in that field, but these are early days.