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Making Money/Saving Lives

Discussion in 'Issues Around the World' started by ethics, Dec 26, 2002.

  1. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    The UN claims that over 40 million people are now living with AIDS.
    Over 30 million people are affected in Sub-Saharan Africa alone.
    Malaria and tuberculosis have also become widespread in many countries of the developing world.

    One hundred forty-three countries and the WTO had agreed that the problem should be addressed by allowing developing countries access to cheap versions of drugs still protected by copyright. But the US blocked that agreement. Talks have been rescheduled for February, but Doctors Without Borders has told the BBC that there is little chance of them succeeding.

    U.S. negotiators say that the proposed deal would allow too many drug patents to be ignored, and that the proposed deal would mean that illnesses that are not infectious, such as diabetes and asthma, could also be treated with cheap, generic drugs. The US negotiator, Linnet Deily, said her country 'could not meet the consensus on the issue.'

    BBC Story here


    Tough issue here. Should the US have signed it and circumvented millions in profits for the sake of saving lives? Or is this Darwinism on the global level?
  2. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    If pharma companies knew that the second they patented a new drug that could treat one of those diseases it would be immediately copied and sold at a cheaper price, do you think they'd develop new drugs? I wouldn't.
  3. jamming

    jamming Banned

    I agree with Biker, because even if they allowed the drugs to be prescribed at a cheaper cost, some doctor's would falsify thier diagnosis so the family would get the cheaper medication.
  4. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Oh hell. Get the the crux of the issue. It isn't the doctors we would have to worry about. The insurance companies would immediately start forcing the issue and want everyone to get the cheaper med.
  5. Coot

    Coot Passed Away January 7, 2010

    As those drugs could only be legally used in 3rd world countries, what would happen in this country would be a huge black market for illicit knockoff prescription drugs.
  6. Biker

    Biker Administrator Staff Member

    Which leaves the 3rd world country in the same position it's in now. The drugs would never make it to the intended recepient as corrupt individuals in the supply chain would be making money shipping the drugs back to the US.
  7. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Dear Friends,

    If it were true that the possibility existed to produce greater amounts of drugs than currently, to give those drugs to those who desparately need them, without consideration of profit, it would surely be a moral breach not so to do. Is there hard information available that even implies that, were protected drugs made available, there would be the capacity to manufacture them?

    Looking at protease inhibitors alone, the process by which they are made defies setting up a cheap factory in a Holiday Inn, else we would all be buying bootleg Tamaflu.

    If, on the other hand, it is only money which drives the pharmaceutical firms, then it is indeed, given the nature of what they do, unconscionable that human beings die for shareholder profits.

    It behooves us, however, to ascertain a great deal more than putative good or bad will before seeking to flood Africa with generic medication which may or may not have any effect upon the tragedy. One could tolerate any amount of corruption and economic loss if lives were saved or ameliorated; finding a way for this to happen, is, however, much more complicated than allowing John's and Mary's Local Licence Laboratory to produce cutting edge drugs.

    If a expert in a field, but not a computer geek, needs to feed his family with something produced on a pc, for argument's sake, law briefs, he wants the pc to work without his knowing how, and without his wasting time to learn how to manufacture the tool, merely to use it. It must be as easy as writing:
    Ampicillin 500 mg

    Thus, Windows.

    Thus, the majors. The boutiques have the more interesting drugs, in the same way as linux is a more interesting OS if one has the time.

    With 40 million dying, everythings has to be plug and play, no time to look for drivers. I doubt, with the best will in the world, and no copyright protection whatsoever, this is achievable.

    More effective would be to require drug companies to make available quantities of classes of drugs to third world nations at marginal cost. Even then, the issues of production are far more complicated than just making more products at a loss.

    It is unconsiconable to allow people to die for capitalism; shareholders who state that profits fund research are only telling a small part of the story. Certainly, something as important as medicine cannot be left to free market economics.

    However, having driven a Dacia, I am rather unconvinced that communist monoclones are likely to do much good, and, given the virulence of the disease, unintended problems are not needed. Doing somthing, anything, may be worse than doing nothing.

    In short, if it's just the money, let the shareholders do the right and moral thing, and forego profit for ethos; if there are other considerations, let us not rush to flood those who cannot afford real help with ersatz biologicals which may in fact be unintentional biological warfare.

    All good wishes,
  8. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    I guess I have to agree with all of the posts here. I can't see how you can be both here without circumventing either the morality of lives or the proft -- and the existance (thanks Biker for that great point) of the companies to begin with.
  9. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    Are you Kidding Me?

    We really don't have a vaccine or a cure yet. So it would appear to be a good time to find a way to get it out when and if it appears. We are a globe. We cannot afford to wait until a tribe in the middle of Africa has enough money to inoculate their people. We cannot wait until the war lords in Somalia buy it for their followers.

    My understanding is that Aids mutates. Are we going to debate capitalism vs communism while millions are dying and virgins are sacrificed for witch doctor cures? Are we going to worry about increasing our taxes $100 a year while the virus mutates further? What is our plan when it mutates to the point it can be spread by birds and inhaled to catch it?

    No, we cannot wait until it worsens on our own shores. We must rally the world to defeating it. We must find ways to vaccinate the world and for the world to share the cost. I laugh at the rest of the world telling pharmaceutical companies to eat the cost. But let's ask ourselves: What cost is too high to stop this disease before it mutates further? I would submit no cost is too high and that while we press for the vaccine and/or cure we should be determining how to vaccinate the world, not if we should.
  10. ethics

    ethics Pomp-Dumpster Staff Member

    Mutation occurs mostly when the patient does not follow the therapy guidelines.

    For my source, see antibiotic abuse and where that's going.
  11. ShinyTop

    ShinyTop I know what is right or wrong!

    That backs my point, Ethics. We have people raping babies because they think it will cure Aids. What are the chances a complicated drug regimen will be followed? When a cure or vaccine is discovered we also need to me merciless in treating people.
  12. -Ken

    -Ken Guest

    This article detains some hopeful information not only about the race to find a vaccine but its use in treatment. This is the kind of breakthrough (if successful) which could make a real difference especially in Africa.

    Edited for spelling
  13. yazdzik

    yazdzik Veteran Member

    Re: Are you Kidding Me?

    Shiny has said, rightly,without equivocation, what needs be done. Whether we have the foresight and the will remains to be seen. It is easy to rally the folks around killing Saddam, but more useful to find the will to eradicate AIDS. We are less likely to die from another's religious fanaticism than our own lack of vision.

    Shall we, or not, find our real inner strength?


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