[opensourcepharma] Jonas Salk's birthday

Jaykumar Menon, Prof. jaykumar.menon at mcgill.ca
Wed Nov 5 14:03:45 UTC 2014

Nice- thanks for the texture, Mat!

From: Matthew Todd [mailto:mattoddchem at gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2014 5:07 AM
To: Jaykumar Menon, Prof.
Cc: opensourcepharma at lists.okfn.org
Subject: Re: [opensourcepharma] Jonas Salk's birthday

This Salk example is interesting. My view is that we need to be careful with it. I would agree that this medicine reached the market without a patent, and that we can use this as an example of a public good that arose without patent protection - I often mention it in talks. But I also wonder about these things:

1) Was this really an open source project (though it was crowdfunded, interestingly)? I would imagine very few people had access to the information needed to reproduce it or even participate in it, and I imagine the research was quite secretive not least because of technological limitations on data sharing.
2) As I understand it, the various players in the project, including Salk himself, had looked into patenting it and had decided against it but the reasons for these moves are still unclear:


3) There has been lots of discussion about the down-playing of other people who contributed to the science, such as Sabin

So when I talk about this I sometimes mention Salk's famous "Would you patent the sun?" question, but then focus away from Salk individually and more towards this dry fact: a patentless therapeutic was successfully developed. If anyone knows more about this, please chime in since I think there is a precedent here that is useful to the idea of OSP provided we don't lay claim to too much.



On 1 November 2014 15:27, Jaykumar Menon, Prof. <jaykumar.menon at mcgill.ca<mailto:jaykumar.menon at mcgill.ca>> wrote:
As observed in a great facebook post from Samir.


Samir Brahmachari<https://www.facebook.com/samir.brahmachari.9?fref=nf>
October 28 at 8:04am<https://www.facebook.com/samir.brahmachari.9/posts/1499894946938172> ·

Today is Birthday of Jonas Salk who could have made 7b$ if he would have patented the discovery of Polio Vaccine.  India is free of Polio today thanks to Jonas Salk and the power of open source.
Like<https://www.facebook.com/samir.brahmachari.9/posts/1499894946938172>Like<https://www.facebook.com/samir.brahmachari.9/posts/1499894946938172> ·  · Share<https://www.facebook.com/ajax/sharer/?s=22&appid=25554907596&p%5B0%5D=100007530437565&p%5B1%5D=1499894946938172&share_source_type=unknown>

Jaykumar Menon, J.D., M.I.A.
Professor of Practice
McGill University Institute for the Study of International Development
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