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BOX 1.2
Weak Protection of Intellectual Property

“In Russia, copyright protection virtually does not work. In rare instances when researchers receive a worthwhile reward for a new drug, it is not a result of a legal mandate or requirement. It is the result of a personal agreement (not legally documented in any way) with the manager (owner) of the manufacturing company or as a result of the inventor’s leverage to control the production flow (in particular, when the inventor can terminate the production at his own volition).”

SOURCE: Russian bioresearch manager (November 2004).

financial difficulties but also from a legacy of favoritism and excessive central control that inhibit initiative and effectiveness. Some have serious shortages of qualified and motivated personnel. Others have shifted their attention from serving the needs of the public to the search for immediate commercial success. Still others have taken shortcuts, fulfilling their obligatory commitments in less than an adequate manner.

Many additional challenges remain. Much of the laboratory equipment for disease surveillance and related research is now obsolete. Russian specialists have been forced to become remarkably skilled in making the best of antiquated equipment. Enforcement of regulatory requirements covering the development and distribution of health-related products is often inconsistent. Sometimes enforcement is excessive, and sometimes it is non-existent. New intellectual property laws are only now being tested in the Russian courts and are frequently ignored (see Box 1.2). The Russian biotechnology industry is in its earliest stages of development, and few investors are prepared to enter an arena plagued with corruption, bureaucratic delays, and other obstacles. Finally, because of the depressed job market for scientists, only a low percentage of university biology graduates (less than one-third at some institutions) pursue scientific careers.

The remainder of this report suggests specific steps that can be taken by Russia, with support from international partners, to help transform the vision of today into the reality of tomorrow.

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