Thursday, October 12, 2006

CPTech Brownbag Lunch November 7, 2006

Professor Noah Novogrodsky will present on "Compulsory Licensing in Ghana - the Continuing Barriers to Affordable Medicines". His presentation will describe the painfully slow effort to implement the WTO August 30th 2003 Decision through Canadian export legislation and Ghana's Patent Act.

Professor Novogrodsky is a Visiting Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center and the Director of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law International Human Rights Program. Noah Novogrodsky joined the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2002 and in September 2003, he founded Canada's first international human rights clinic at the Faculty. For each of the past three years, Professor Novogrodsky has taught a seminar titled “The HIV/AIDS in Africa Project” in connection with the work of Stephen Lewis, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on HIV/AIDS in Africa. Professor Novogrodsky has also been an organizer of the University of Toronto-based Access to Drugs Initiative. Professor Novogrodsky’s current research agenda focuses on the HIV/AIDS pandemic as a threat to human security.

Public meeting Tuesday November 7 (brown bag lunch: bring your lunch, we'll have drinks)
12 to 2pm
Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech)'s office
1621 Connecticut Ave., NW, Suite 500 Washington, DC 20009

To RSVP or more information contact Judit at judit.rius (at) or 202 332 2670

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Dinner plan tomorrow July 26, 2006

CPTech Dinner in honor of Michael and Joy at Lauriol Plaza tomorrow Wednesday July 26, 2006.

Let's meet first for drinks there at 6pm latest? We will not get a table until we're all there drinking etc. And we need a big table for people who might arrive later and will have to be squeezed Emily, Jon, Judit?

Lauriol Plaza
1835 18th St NW # S
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 387-0035

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Assistant to Director of NGO (Job Announcement)

Non-profit non-government organization (NGO) working on international issues relating to intellectual property rights, access to medicines, and access to knowledge (A2K), has a position open for an Assistant to the Director. This job, which can involve some international travel, includes working to support the organization of various meetings, workshops and other events around the world, working with a board of directors, some office management work, public relations, and assisting with the Director's hectic travel schedule. The organization has offices in Washington, DC, London and Geneva, and works in developing countries.

The organization, now known as Consumer Project on Technology (CPTech)is an advocate of the interests of the poor and a supporter of policies and practices that promote more open approaches to the support of creative and inventive communities, and also greater access to knowledge goods. The position will involve working with a larger number of other NGOs, governments, businesses, academics and others.

The position can be full or half time. The salary will depend upon the experience and qualifications of the applicant, but will be competitive with similar organizations, and will include health insurance and other benefits. The organization is quite diverse, and is flexible regarding daily working schedules, as well as vacations and time off for other reasons. The position is currently held by a person who held the job for three years, and is leaving for graduate school.

To apply, please send name, contact information, and resume to Joy Spencer, at, voice 1.202.332.2670, fax 1.202.332.2673, 1621 Connecticut Avenue, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20009 (Near the Q street entrance of the Dupont Circle subway stop).

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Announcement: brownbag lunch July 13, 2006

Brown Bag Lunch at CPTech July 13, 2006

So many bad bills, so little time... but summer is good to find out more about a good bill status.

Alliance for Taxpayer Access: "Every year, the federal government funds tens of billions of dollars in basic and applied research. Most of this funding is concentrated within 11 departments/agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), Department of Energy). The research results typically are reported in articles published in a wide variety of academic journals. From NIH funding alone, it is estimated that about 65,000 papers are published each year.

Because U.S. taxpayers underwrite this research, they have a right to expect that its dissemination and use will be maximized, and that they themselves will have access to it. If this information is shared with all potential users, it will advance science and improve the lives and welfare of people of the United States and the world."

Heather Joseph (ARL-SPARC) has kindly agreed to brief us on the latest on the the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006. As you may know, the bill would require agencies with annual research budgets of more than $100 million to implement a public access policy granting faster access to research supported by the US government. There are efforts to push to get a House companion introduced in the next couple of weeks - before the August recess if possible and many other plans.

Public meeting Thursday July 13 (brown bag lunch: bring your lunch, we'll have drinks)
12 to 2pm
CPTech's office
1621 Connecticut Ave NW, Suite 500

Contact or 202 332 2670 for questions

TEXT of bill:
More at:

Drug Development Blog

We have created a new CPTech Blog called "Drug Development." It is
located here:

There are some discussions about issues in how Prize fund rewards
might be structured, as well as a post on Dean Baker's proposal for
expanded government role in drug development. Michael is working on
something that looks at 2004 FDA new drug approvals.

Using R for statistics

People thinking about working on data analysis might consider using R, a free software environment for statistical computing and graphics that runs on a wide variety of platforms, including Linux, Windows and MacOS. You can get the software here: An online html verison of the manual is available here:

The documentation is written by and for geeks, and can take a little time to understand, but if you are willing, there are several advantages. It is free, powerful, and runs on multiple OS platforms, so it is something you can continue to use, and it makes it easier to collaborate with others.

Amazon has a number of good printed manuals. I liked Peter Dalgaard's Introductory Statistics with R. The free PDF Manual from the R-Project is also good.

Some basics to get started

Using excel, open office, a text editor or another program, create a dataset that has as it's top row, the names of variables (no spaces or illegal characters), and presents data in rows and columns. For example:

#----filename somedata.cvs

To read this data into R, you might use a command like this:

somedata <- read.table("somedata.csv",header=T,sep=",",row.names=NULL,na.strings="zz")

What this does is read the data from the text file, and create a dataset called somedata. The command gives the name of the file, tell R the first row is for hearders, the columns are separated by comas, there are no row names, and missing data are represented by "zz."

You could create variables like this:

delta_r <- somedata[,2]
all301 <- somedata[,3]
pop04 <-somedata[,4]
gni04 <- somedata[,5]

and plot the GNI data like this:

hist(gni04) , or plot(all301, pop04 )

To run an OLS regression, you could do this:

test1 <- lm(all301 ~ pop04 + gni04)
You could edit a dataset, and put the results into a new variable, like this:

somedata2 <- edit(somedata)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Government funded R&D

Government funded R&D programs are important for two reasons. First, they are large, probably representing somewhere between a quarter and a half of important R&D outlays, depending upon what is counted. Secondly, governments fund many types of research that for-profit investors do not find attractive, such as basic medical research, risky research in areas where the least is known, and projects that involve openness and sharing of information. Sir. John Sulton, winner of the 2002 Nobel prize for medicine and a key player in the Human Genome Project, reckoned that open research was at least nine-times more productive than research that was secret.

Push, Pull or both?

The system for funding R&D today is a mixture of public sector/donor directed research grants and contracts (like the NIH or CDC in the United States), known as “push” mechanisms, and incentives like patents, known as “pull” mechanisms, that reward only successful projects. A new system needed both approaches – push and pull. It also needed both non-profit and for-profit players.

The hard part was to reinvent the “pull” mechanism so that it was no longer linked to marketing monopolies and high drug prices. The main idea that emerged from this this exercise was the creation of a system of cash rewards for successful drug development projects, mostly based upon evidence of impacts on incremental health care outcomes.

Aventis was told that it's business could be broken down into three components. The manufacturing and distribution of medicines could easily and more efficiently be done by the competitive generic drugs industry, as it is today in the United States after patents expire, and has it has been done in India, a country with pharmaceutical product patents, for the past three decades.

Starting a CPTech Staff Blog

Hello everyone.

I've created the CPTech Staff Blog, which can be used by any of us. It is located on our website at