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Global Access To University-Derived Medicines 154

Posted by kdawson
from the what's-right-is-right dept.
Nicholas Stine writes, "Universities should make their patented biomedical innovations accessible to those in poor countries, according to a consensus statement signed by dozens of international global health leaders. Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a student group active at over 30 universities in North America, drafted the Philadelphia Consensus Statement urging universities to adopt licensing policies that would facilitate access to all university-derived medicines in developing countries. Notable signatories include 28 non-governmental organizations, four Nobel laureates, Justice Edwin Cameron of the South African Supreme Court of Appeal, Jeffrey Sachs of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Paul Farmer, co-founder of Partners in Health."
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Global Access To University-Derived Medicines

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  • by Salvance (1014001) * on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:21PM (#16845868) Homepage Journal
    The problem is that the Universities are not the ones manufacturing these life saving medicines and processes, it's the drug companies. Asking Universities to provide access to their discoveries would reduce the value of their discoveries on the open market (since there'd now be multiple companies licensed to sell the product, one of which may not have needed to pay for the right). In such a scenario, what incentive does the research institute have to develop the drugs and medical devices other than government grants?

    The Consensus statement suggests that Universities should be "engaging with nontraditional partners, such as public-private partnerships or developing country institutions, creating new opportunities for drug development, and carving out neglected disease research exemptions in any university patents or licenses". So in other words, instead of selling their patents and discoveries to drug companies, they should be giving it away? What incentive would one of these "nontraditional partners" have to sell a $50 drug for $.05 when they could sell it on the black market for $5.00?

    Drugs will not solve the long term problems in developing countries, they'll just make them worse. Many of these countries do not have the natural resources to handle their populations. This lack of resources leads to many of the diseases that our drugs are supposed to fix (plus many other problems, such as the constant wars and corruption present in Africa). Sending them cheap drugs puts more strain on existing resources, since more people are able to survive in an area that can't support them. We need to attack the root cause of their problems: corruption, overpopulation, lack of education (particularly sex education), and sanitation. Once these are solved/improved, the need for access to new miracle drugs is greatly reduced.

    In short, the consortium is barking up the wrong tree. They should be trying to pursuade drug manufacturers to ship more reduced/free products to these third world countries. That would provide the benefits they are looking for, while not reducing the drug's value and risking future research investments. I'm not saying this is a great idea either, but it doesn't nearly the same negative impact as giving away the patent or production methods.
    • I agree. Over population is hurting Africa more than anything.
    • by AuMatar (183847) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @07:00PM (#16846354)
      Yup, all those university professors who studied for at least 10 years in order to be in a position to do medical research will become horribly disincentived. They're all going to quit and go work a McJob instead.

      Ok, now that you might be back to reality- if you're a university professor, your main motivation is not money. If it was, you would be in industry. Or more likely, gotten a law degree instead of a degree in medicine or microbiology. The people working these jobs aren't going to quit because they're suddenly not making a fortune. Hell, they weren't making a fortune anyway- the university was.

      The fact is that some things are more important than money (actually, I can't think of anything less important than money, but thats for another time). There are people dieing that don't need to, because they can't afford drugs which already exist. Not because its expensive/difficult to make the drug, but because patents prevent alternative manufacturers from doing so. This is not acceptable.

      Furthermore, this is university research. Over 95% of it is paid for with public money- money given to them by government grants. If the public is already paying for it, the public should have full benefits of the discovery. There is no excuse for taking my tax dollars for research, and then forcing me to pay Pheizer or Merks for the results of that research. All research at public universities or using government money should be public domain.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        A University with no funds will have no money, if it has no money it won't stay open, if it's not open it's not doing any research. Research is a major income for many Universities around the world. Nobody in their right mind is going to make an investment with no return (the return being a valuble patent).
        Exclaiming that all the patents should be free is a non-solution. It'll just make more problems. Get onto the drugs companies and get them to perhaps scale their pricing structure to allow poorer nations
        • Universities receive money from performing research, not from exploiting it. Research funding comes in the form of grants, either from the government or from industry (who can often offset it against tax, making it effectively the government again).

          The 'investment' comes from the taxpayer, in exchange for being able to make use of the results of the research. If research is publicly funded, then it should be free for use by anyone. If it is industrially funded (and there are no associated tax breaks)

      • by Anonymous Coward
        "Furthermore, this is university research. Over 95% of it is paid for with public money- money given to them by government grants."

        Proof? Or is this another example of neither region numbers? And even if the research was paid for by public funds, the raw research will do no good without the practical work that private industry does to make certain the end result is safe and usable.
      • by xplenumx (703804) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @07:48PM (#16846868)
        While I agree our main motivation is not money (if it was, we wouldn't have chosen science), why shouldn't we get paid money. We got paid nothing during our five years of graduate school. We got paid nothing during our five year-year post-doc. We certainly don't get rich running a lab. Why shouldn't we make money off of something we spent years of our lives working on?

        What I don't understand is why it's okay for people to go into just about every other career for the money, but if someone in science decides to make a buck they're evil. I made ~16k per year while a graduate student. My friends who went into business made ~60k out of college. Five years later I made ~40k as a post-doc (on the high-end of the salary scale). My friends were up to 100k. As an Assistant Professor I make ~70k (on the high end). All of my friends from college make over 100k, and most make over 150k. My work isn't easier either. I put in a minimum of 60 hours per week, and when writing grants I often put in 80+ hours. My friends who are making over 100k per year - a 'tough week' is one where they work over 50 hours. If a scientist put in the blood, sweat, and tears to produce a patent that actually produces money (most don't), then all the more power to them. And people wonder why the younger (American) generation aren't interested in a career in science.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by JanneM (7445)
          We got paid nothing during our five years of graduate school. We got paid nothing during our five year-year post-doc. We certainly don't get rich running a lab. Why shouldn't we make money off of something we spent years of our lives working on?

          Last time I looked (like on my monthly statement), a post-doc is a salaried position, and pretty well paid too.

          In Sweden, doctoral students are paid a real salary, since, after all, they are doing research and teaching. The salary isn't all that high - they're doing
          • by Rich0 (548339)
            Last time I looked (like on my monthly statement), a post-doc is a salaried position, and pretty well paid too.

            Uh, maybe compared to the average college summer job, but post-docs are NOT well-paid by just about any market-based comparison. Most probably make around $30-40k annually - a fraction of what industry would pay a Ph.D. worker.
        • Leech! (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Because your funding is coming from the Government, not from yourself!!!

          I REALLY resent all of the University profs who get their money from Government grants, patent something, make a ton of money, and NONE of it goes back to the Taxpayer. You're basically getting fat off of the backs of the average citizen.

          It used to be that Profs did research for the enjoyment of it, and they shared their research far more willingly. That's all changed since Academia bribed Congress into one of the biggest giveaways in t
        • Yep, you read the subject right. It's the law of supply and demand at work.

          See, people choose science careers because they *like* science. It's got a number of nonfinancial perks and rewards, such as being interesting, inciting passion, and satisfying a deep feeling of altruism.

          Compare/contrast that with some business - say, importing iron. Not knocking the importance of the iron importers, as they serve a vital role in the economy, but it's not a particularly intellectually stimulating line of work.

          Now, i
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Compuser (14899)
            This was true up to a certain point in time. What has happened in the last twenty or so years is that funding for science has plunged relative to the overall research needs.
            What used to be:
            People got a PhD or MD and went on to do research. People used to get tenure either when they were hired or shortly thereafter.
            Abundant funding and early starting times made it possible for people to enjoy doing science in their most productive years.

            What is there now:
            5-10 year postdocs when you get paid next to nothing (
        • by Greg_D (138979) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @10:10PM (#16847938)
          Perhaps you don't deserve the big bucks from patents because you're working for a huge employer, and very few employees who work for huge employers ever get rich off of the product they've spent years of their lives working on.

          We paid you, we supported your research, we should own the result. If you want to own the result, then feel free to go start up your own lab and look for the venture capital to fund your research just like every other person who wants to strike out into business for themselves. You knew when you entered academia that it was a cushy job with a nice pension (wouldn't want to forget that since they're virtually non-existent in the private sector). You're getting a better deal than virtually every private sector peon gets, so quit your whining.
          • If you want to own the result, then feel free to go start up your own lab and look for the venture capital to fund your research just like every other person who wants to strike out into business for themselves.

            I guess you're not aware that this is the way most academic biomedical research works these days. All your funding - even your salary - typically comes from competitive grants that you must seek out, secure, and retain. All of the resources that the university supplies are paid for from your grants.

        • by asuffield (111848)

          Why shouldn't we make money off of something we spent years of our lives working on?

          Simple economics. You have a choice: make money for yourself to squander, or do something productive with it.

          Private industry prefers the former. Universities prefer the latter. That's not a coincidence, it's their fundamental objective - private industry exists to make people money, while universities exist to make research happen.

          Whenever you are faced with a task that involves research, there is always an approach that ge

      • by moatra (1019690)
        Furthermore, this is university research. Over 95% of it is paid for with public money- money given to them by government grants. If the public is already paying for it, the public should have full benefits of the discovery.
        Okay... even if your figure of 95% is correct, let me ask you this question: Where does the money for the government grants come from? Last time I checked, citizens of Africa weren't paying our taxes.
      • $100,000 instruments, the $50,000/year grad students and post-docs, and the tens of thousands in lab maintanence fees that are necessary in order to get the work done.

        These activists are hopelessly native about the scientific process. In the medical field, R&D is roughly evenly split between public and private, and completely intertwined. EVERY drug or technique developed has at least some public and private money behind it. Saying that drugs "developed by a university" should be given away for fr
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Znork (31774)
          Activists such as these (and everyone else who complains about drug prices) just needs to get over the fact that SCIENCE IS EXPENSIVE, and that someone has to pay for it."

          Sure, I'll get over it the day the pharmaceuticals are actually spending their money on research.

          You do realize that not even 20% of the pharm money is spent on R&D, right? Go take a look at any public pharmcorps financial reports.

          You do realize that means we could get _five_ times the current amount of R&D if we scrapped patents a
        • by jafac (1449)
          Allowing a Pharmaceutical company to patent 100% of an idea that came say 50% from public money is also an expression of a false dichotomy.

          The patent should only give the Pharmaceutical company a monopoly on their portion of the profit. The rest of that IP belongs in the public realm, including that proportion of the profit.

          What the public decides to do with that profit is another thing altogether. I'd favor the earlier poster's suggestion of reinvestment in more R&D. Sadly - a complete solution may
      • by tsotha (720379)

        They're all going to quit and go work a McJob instead.

        If the private funding for these researchers dries up, many of them will be in McJobs. Medical research isn't like other kinds of science research - it's profitable, so companies put money into it. I question your 95% figure - do you have a source or is that a flourish? Medical labs are expensive - even if the researcher is willing to work for free drug development is still expensive.

        There is no excuse for taking my tax dollars for research, and t

    • Better Ideas (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Doc Ruby (173196)
      So what you're saying is that drug corporations should have to open up their IP, too. That their patents create artificial monopolies built on investments by the public, often from traditional development of material and techniques. That their corporate profits compete with the lives and health of the world that supports their corporations.

      Funny how you pronounced that as "all that essential science should stay in monopoly hands, away from the public good".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by yali (209015)

      Parent said "Asking Universities to provide access to their discoveries would reduce the value of their discoveries on the open market..." and then: "They should be trying to pursuade drug manufacturers to ship more reduced/free products to these third world countries."

      Private industry is heavily dependent on licensing publicly funded discoveries from universities (search on the phrase "technology transfer" at any research-oriented university to see examples). Universities could include in those licenses t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rich0 (548339)
        but a for-profit company is unlikely to voluntarily do anything that could imaginably restrict their profits, even if only by a small amount.

        I agree that putting a clause as you suggest in the licensing agreement probably wouldn't lower the value of the agreement to a pharma company. However, I disagree that companies won't do ANYTHING voluntarily that would restrict their profits. Most major pharma outfits sell products in the 3rd world for little to no profit - and often at a loss. In part this is to a
        • and its cheaper than dumping their out of date stock.
        • A large percentage of the drug trade in Africa is based on fake drugs with little or no benifit, they are manafactured in India and other developing nations. Drug companies are certainly not saints either, they have been known to conduct trials there because the locals are cheap, ignorant and will swallow anything you put in their mouth.

          To the people harping on that Africa is overpoulated, news flash, the whole world is overpopulated, eg: Europe has roughly the same population as Africa. That does not ex
    • Im picking on you here, but there are others whose responses are equally off-target.

      Read the Consensus Statement [essentialmedicine.org] again. Closely.

      Then start to realise that the purpose of this Consensus statement isnt to jack your profits or make your hard work all for nought or any of that rubbish you seem to be touting.

      Imagine this:

      A company has obtained the rights to produce and distribute a particular drug from a university. They are intending to distribute it to America and maybe England or Australia and maybe even part
      • by Dravik (699631)
        Now how is it everyone was so upset that Sony sued to shut down the grey market a week or so ago then somehow forget that the exact same grey market dynamic will effect drugs. The no royalty licenses to third world countries will be sold primarily in 1st world countries just under the cost to the legitimate manufacturers but with lower quality control.
    • by sjs132 (631745)
      " In such a scenario, what incentive does the research institute have to develop the drugs and medical devices other than government grants? " Pretty much summs it up... How many Drugs are produced by communist countries where research is dependent on goverment rubles? Moving on, next topic...
    • What incentive would one of these "nontraditional partners" have to sell a $50 drug for $.05 when they could sell it on the black market for $5.00?

      You're arguing against the petition and your own hypothetical grants a 90% discount in the price of drugs? That's the worst-case scenario! Sounds pretty sweet to me. And since you think so highly of market forces (at least as far as driving future research) why wouldn't there be equally as much competition driving the price of this hypothetical drug down to it

    • by ifngamma (1027402)
      the problem isn't about who is making the drugs, but who is profiting from them. Sure, incentivizing research is tough and everyone wants a return on their investment but the consortium's proposal lets pharma continue to dominate the market in developed countries, it just tries to find a way to lower prices in poorer ones. Since poorer ones can't afford the meds anyway, i doubt that will cause a blip to the bottom line of Phizer or Roche. As long as medicare part D still pumps loads of cash to expensive
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by asuffield (111848)

      In such a scenario, what incentive does the research institute have to develop the drugs and medical devices other than government grants?

      The same that they have now - none. Drugs and medical devices are largely developed on government money, because there's no reason to spend your own money when the governments are willing to pay (both through grants, and through the welfare state).

      But hey, of course this company is entitled to kill millions in third world countries in order to maximise their return on you

    • Last time I replied (to one of your comments) I misunderstood the intentions of your comments about the OLPC project. I said; "Sometimes, some folks on /. are as clueless as a Washington DC politician." Now I suspect you are just a greedy low-life, mud-sucking, scumbag lobbyist. If you are a lobbyist, you are good and should ask for a raise, but televangelists are still better at their sales-pitch (few will question their lies in public).

      I guess the K-Street slime marketers/spinners have taken to the Intern
      • OK, I was wrong, last time I was replying to the "BigBuckHunter the Telecom/Cable lobbyist" and not "Salvance the Pharmaceuticals lobbyist", but I think they are both BigBiz industry lobbyist. Most lobbyist are bigots ... in or out of their sheets. However I cannot be sure of "BigBuckHunter the Telecom/Cable lobbyist" and not "Salvance the Pharmaceuticals lobbyist" or their intention may be best.

        The road to hell is paved with the best of intentions, and the inactions of bigots, dogmatist, and cowards.
  • University funding plummets as drug companies refuse to allow others to reduce their profits by giving away the fruits of research for which they paid. Nice sentiment. Terrible idea.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:39PM (#16846064)
      Followed by drug development plummeting because the universities quit doing the research studies the drug companies used.

      Followed by everyone being wiped out by the flu, but at least they had 5 choices of drugs for making their dick hard until the very end.
      • Please read parent and consider moderating it positively.
      • each of those has only has a 15% chance of making your dick hard (unless you are a woman, in which case it always works). Side effects include nausea, dry mouth, heaves, ebola, and a high probability of catching the flu.
      • Followed by drug development plummeting because the universities quit doing the research studies the drug companies used.

        No, Universities would lose Doctors and researchers to private enterprise. The research will be done by someone, private labs will displace the universities as they will be more cost effective under the proposed system, unlike under the current system.

        As others have pointed out, and as elected officials demonstrate on a nearly daily basis, nice sentiments sometimes make poor policy
    • by schwaang (667808)

      University funding plummets as drug companies refuse to allow others to reduce their profits by giving away the fruits of research for which they paid.

      Except that their profits won't be reduced under the Equitable Access License.

      It doesn't force drug manufacturers to make or sell anything, or set any prices.
      It doesn't erode the drug co.'s markets (which are only the rich countries).
      It just permits the production of generic drug versions for sale only in low/middle income countries.

    • They'd only be giving it away to people too poor to pay for it in the first place. Actually read the proposal, eh?
  • Fat Chance (Score:2, Insightful)

    by swpod (963634)
    Some of these universities have made hundreds of millions of dollars in royalty payments from the pharma companies. You think they are going to give up that gravy train so that dark people won't suffer and die? Universities are run by classic Limousine Liberals -- all for social programs unless it hits *their* cash flow.
    • "Dark people"? I would hope that you could come up with a better discriminator than the color of their skin! I shall make sure that I tell my 'dark' friends in seattle that they're going to suffer and die due to the universities greed.
      • by kbox (980541)
        The fact is most third world countries, Countries which the article is suggesting we help, Are populated by "dark people"... Regardless of how politically correct you want to appear on the internet.

        Well done on having black friends though, And well done of felling as though you need to tell us about it.
        • Methinks you missed my sarcasm noted to telling my 'dark' friends. But let me spell this out for you, you seem to need further elaboration. The point being made was that not all 'dark people' will be affected by the lack of free medication as just a few, a small few (this is more sarcasm btw), don't live in third world countries. The use of 'dark people' was an poorly used discriminator, both from the politically correct and global perspective. As you point out yourself through use, 'third world population'
  • People who don't have something think people who do should give it to them. We see this with plasma TVs quite a bit, as well as cars, wallets and emminent domain.

    If the medicine is developed with government grants then yes, it ought to be available to all citizens of the country that developed it. Whether or not it's available to other countries is a matter for larger debate, where I tend to think the answer is yes - asking some 3rd world country to solve its health problems by inventing the drugs it nee

  • unfair (Score:3, Insightful)

    by delirium of disorder (701392) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @06:54PM (#16846266) Homepage Journal
    Only about half of all medical research is privately funded, yet most new medicines end up being patented and owned by private companies. Shouldn't the people (US! the public!) who pay for the research be the ones who decide how it is used? In a democratic society, the people would actually own what they pay for and would choose to use it for the good of the worlds population. Too bad we live in a corporate oligarchy. We subsidize (or socialize if that's your bad word) the costs and risks of research, but we privatize the benefits so that only a few rich shareholders can profit while millions die of preventable diseases. We need a revolution.
    • Re: unfair (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Black Parrot (19622)
      > Only about half of all medical research is privately funded, yet most new medicines end up being patented and owned by private companies. Shouldn't the people (US! the public!) who pay for the research be the ones who decide how it is used? In a democratic society, the people would actually own what they pay for and would choose to use it for the good of the worlds population. Too bad we live in a corporate oligarchy. We subsidize (or socialize if that's your bad word) the costs and risks of research,
    • by Rich0 (548339)
      In a democratic society, the people would actually own what they pay for and would choose to use it for the good of the worlds population.

      Then don't sell it! Just keep it in the NIH and develop it all the way to market. But don't sell a license to a company and then turn around and tell them that now that they've spent $500M developing it that you think their product should be priced just above marginal cost.

      I don't understand why everybody calls for major overhauls of drug patents, etc. If govt funding
  • Last time I checked, Universities don't make drugs. Doing the research on which a drug is based is the cheap/easy part. Taking a lead compound through development, animal testing, Phase 1, Phase 2, and Phase 3 Clinical Trials is the expensive/hard part. Univerities don't do the hard part. So sure, let them share all the drugs they've developed.
  • This reminds me... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by susano_otter (123650) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @07:00PM (#16846346) Homepage
    This reminds me of my petition that everybody capable of contributing to the development of lifesaving drugs drop whatever their current career is--be it software developer, accountant, homemaker, whatever--and dedicate the rest of their lives to developing lifesaving medicines.

    Because, hey, if we can, then it's immoral not to.
    • This reminds me of my petition that everybody capable of contributing to the development of lifesaving drugs drop whatever their current career is--be it software developer, accountant, homemaker, whatever--and dedicate the rest of their lives to developing lifesaving medicines. Because, hey, if we can, then it's immoral not to.

      Fuck off with the legislating morality already. It doesn't work with the religious nuts, and it doesn't work with this. It's my life and you're not making me work in the mind nu

  • The depth and dynamic of the problem(s) to which this statement is meant to speak, is far greater than the relatively naive, albeit well meaning, process proposed. In addition to heeding the incentive, commodity abuse/manipulation, economies of scope/scale issues and failed resolve targeting that have already been brought to light by my fellow slashers, I would recommend the drafting body behind this project read Daniel Quinn's Ishmael.
    Scary but enlightening mirrors are yummy...

    SLR-
  • by frovingslosh (582462) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @07:09PM (#16846450)
    So somehow as a taxpayer in the U.S.A. who funded that research I should still be charged outrageous skyrocketing prices if I need it, but somehow people in foregin countries somehow deserve it more than I do and should have it given to them? I might well accept an argument that public funded medical research should have certain restrictions put on it's prices, but those restrictions should start with saying that the taxpayers who funded it should be charged no more than others who did not fund it (including Canadians and Europeans), not allow the patent holders to charge even more locally to offset giving the stuff away to "the poor". Lets not even get into discussions of how such giveaways usually enrich a corrupt government and seldom get to the targeted people, it's not even relivant in this case.
  • As A Taxpayer... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by haute_sauce (745863)
    ...And by definition a funder of university drug research in SOME cases, I have a significant problem with this idea (that drug I pay to have created are forced to be sold cheaper somewhere else). And I am sure that should such silliness be attempted, a regulation preventing goverment funding will not be used in such a manner. and then you can kiss off university research !

    I do know that profits on patents held by universities alows them to retain the best talent, and therefore continue innovative and gr
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Mr2001 (90979)

      I have a significant problem with this idea (that drug I pay to have created are forced to be sold cheaper somewhere else).

      But apparently you don't mind that the drugs you pay to have created are patented by someone else, huh? They take our money, use it to do research, and then keep the results for themselves. You and I and the rest of the taxpayers are getting screwed.

      I do know that profits on patents held by universities alows them to retain the best talent, and therefore continue innovative and ground-b

      • by Rich0 (548339)
        Except, of course, for the people who can't afford some patented treatment because the lack of competition is keeping the price out of their reach. But who cares about them, right?

        Uh, how many drugs are on the market without ANY competition? Most drugs compete with cheap medications - but people aren't satisfied with the cheap meds because the more expensive ones work better. But, would the more expensive meds exist if it weren't for the drug industry that developed them?

        They take our money, use it to do
        • by Mr2001 (90979)

          Uh, how many drugs are on the market without ANY competition?

          There is no competition for the production of a patented drug; that's the whole purpose of patents.

          Most drugs compete with cheap medications - but people aren't satisfied with the cheap meds because the more expensive ones work better.

          Indeed. So, as I was saying, the GP's assertion that "Everyone benefits, believe it or not" is wrong, because the people who can't afford the more effective treatments don't benefit; in fact, when the high prices ena

          • by stapedium (228055)
            >> Uh, how many drugs are on the market without ANY competition?
            >There is no competition for the production of a patented drug; that's the whole purpose of patents.

            The parent's point is that the competition for the patented drug are other drugs in its class and other drugs used to treat the same diseases/symptoms. Think Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, Zantac, Petpo

            >> Most drugs compete with cheap medications - but people aren't satisfied with the cheap meds because the more expensive ones
            • by Mr2001 (90979)

              The parent's point is that the competition for the patented drug are other drugs in its class and other drugs used to treat the same diseases/symptoms. Think Prilosec, Nexium, Protonix, Zantac, Petpo

              Right. That's an irrelevant point, though. When I mentioned "people who can't afford some patented treatment because the lack of competition", the competition that would enable them to afford a certain drug is competition to produce that drug, not a different, less effective one.

              And in fifteen years, the expensi

  • In other words (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by Kohath (38547)
    People who want free stuff say: "give stuff away for free"

  • So basically... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PhysicsPhil (880677) on Tuesday November 14, 2006 @09:25PM (#16847606)

    ...everybody signed the declaration except the actual people doing and paying for the drug research.

    In other news, Slashdot readers signed a petition for free computers while drivers signed another for free gas.

  • Excellent. I will now have even LESS motivation to innovate at the University I work at.
  • The claim goes, for every 1 drug that a company brings to market after years of painful research failures, there are a bunch that didn't pan out, and the one that did took years of people working tirelessly to create.

    If the drug companies weren't granted monopoly distribution rights via protectionist government intervention, this basic drug research would not be possible because the basic investment would never pay back - generics would undersell the "inventor" of the drug everytime.

    How sure are people of t
  • ... excuse me, but is this a bad time to recommend Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged?
    • by FhnuZoag (875558)
      The hilarious thing about Atlas Shrugged is that everyone thinks that they are Atlas.
  • Is it just me or does it seem like this article has brought out a high percentage of astroturfers. Reading highly modded comments like "Universities don't make drugs, dummy! They just license them to drug companies at which point it's completely out of their hands." and "If you don't pay market price for your life-saving drugs then no one will do research and the terrorists win!" I hope these are astroturfers, anyways.

    First, at least, read the opening of the Consensus Statement [essentialmedicine.org].

    Oh no! Someone's suggeste
  • This will never work, because for most people in these countries the immedate concern is starving to death. it will create a huge black market of meds donated to 3rd world countries. this is the reason AIDS is raping africa, because women aren't concerned with dieing of aids when they will die of starvation much sooner, so they prositute/give them selfs away either for food or simply not to be killed then and there. how about we help them get the technology needed to simply feed themselfs, treat the rest on
  • THANKS MUCH to all the students, doctors, researchers, administrators ... involved. You are indeed "Knights of the WoeFolk Continents!"

    Universities Allied for Essential Medicines is fantastic and provides a real path to a better future for humanity.

    The Philadelphia Consensus Statement helps the public/citizens reclaim ownership for tax-dollar labs, facilities, payroll ... at Universities and Hospitals. This gives humanity a ROI for US. This is very good, and an ethics/morals lesson for all modern politician

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department

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