Statistics and Creative Commons

For Intellectual Property Watch, Tove Iren S. Gerhardsen has just given a very interesting report back from the 23rd general assembly in Geneva of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA):

‘As part of its greater focus on accountability and transparency, the global pharmaceutical industry will launch a new code of marketing ethics next year… Meanwhile, its stand in support of patents will remain unchanged, although its strategy was challenged at the meeting.’

Gerhardsen interviewed one of those doing the challenging – Hans Rosling, professor of International Health at Karolinska Institute in Sweden, who told him, ‘The pharmaceutical industry has so far been extremely conservative.’

Rosling had called on industry to ‘think of new “clever business models,” as the information technology and aircraft industries have done, both of which offer high-price as well as low-price alternatives.’ He cited the alternative approaches to conventional market mechanisms taken by Internet companies Google, Skype and YouTube and suggested that the pharmaceutical industry should ‘find ways of providing free or at cost products in the beginning, as many mobile phone companies have done, in order to acquire potential customers…’ adding, ‘ With this thinking, the industry should not be afraid that its products would be copied. Even Microsoft Corp.’s Bill Gates recognised that copiers would later purchase the products when it has helped them grow their economy’.

Rosling is the founder of Gapminder, a non-profit organisation that aims to create a ‘YouTube of statistics’. Public statistics are hidden from the public, Rosling told Gerhardsen: those who have used them have either put ‘prices or stupid passwords’ on them. Gapminder aims to change this and bring statistics back into the public domain.

Intellectual Property Watch have made Rosling’s amazing presentation and graphics available, from Tedtalks on a Creative Commons License.

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