Bono : "I'm speechless" - The problems of nowadays medicine in a Third-World aspect - U2 Feedback

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Old 05-25-2002, 04:31 PM   #1
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Good information John.

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[This message has been edited by diamond (edited 05-25-2002).]
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Old 05-25-2002, 04:43 PM   #2
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It is something I strongly believe in, free health-care and the complete accessibility to medicine for any nation. My free health-care system is going bankrupt because of the overall costs are getting higher of I5% each year. I hope my actual government is an honest one... they cut in the medical personnal to be able to pay this I5% more each year. Sometimes you have to wait several hours to see a doctor (well... depends if its urgent or not of course). I was very very sick during the last couple of months and I waited for hours, but I didn't complaint at all. I didn't paid to see a doctor and to get the medicine I need to control my severe asthma.

Before I started getting interested in the medical problems of Third-World (at first), I was complaining that I waited hours to see a doctor. Now I don't. I'm lucky to have a free-access to the basic health care system (of course, I have to pay for some drugs, but not the basic ones or the ones I absolutely need). The Third-World situation is a dramatic one (since they have basically no access to any kind of health care). I strongly applaud Bono for using of his position on that case and I hope the fans will get their own idea on it, not acquiesce to all of what Bono's says, like I wrote on the last post.

Cheers.

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Old 05-25-2002, 05:15 PM   #3
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Drug companies have to understand that not everyone can afford their prices and that if they need to come up with a plan for distributing drugs in africa
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Old 05-25-2002, 10:54 PM   #4
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Holy John:

I know this is unusual for me, but I DO agree with a lot of what you say in this thread. Thanks for posting it.

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Old 05-25-2002, 11:28 PM   #5
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Thanks, Holy John. And did you forward this to any of the relevant authorities...?

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Old 05-26-2002, 03:17 AM   #6
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Bono : "I'm speechless" - The problems of nowadays medicine in a Third-World aspect

As you all know, Bono is making a trip in African countries with Paul O'Neill (I believe being the Treasure Secretary of the United States of America) and yesterday Bono said : "I am speechless. I am amazed by the stupidity of a world wich dosen't give antiretrovirals to babies and also accepts that the mothers of those babies die without being treated. [for 'antiretrovirals', english is not my first language, the word may be different since I'm translating Bono's talks - the word is 'antirétroviraux']

Paul O'Neill approved Bono's request to distribute more antiretrovirals. Bono and Mr. O'Neill acted like any decent human being would in front of such a situation, aids in that case. And Bono was in Soweto, one of South Africa's aids nest. Only, I hope Mr. O'Neill will be able to act, when he'll return to the USA, like a decent human politician because the case of aids medicine is a very complex one and those of you who followed South Africa's struggle to have generic drugs probably knows about the complexity of the situation. Not only that Mr. O'Neill will, I hope, act like a decent politician being a member of the administration of the first Nation in terms of economy, I hope that this same nation will not act alone as it does too much nowadays, but will insist and help make a plan in the United Nations' different organisations. This is a vital world-wide case, vital for millions of humans.

Since I am interested in humanitarian work, I did my own reseach on the whole drugs for aids stuff, in a Third-World optic, and I could replace the word 'aids' by any other one, like cancer for example. For those who can read french, there is a very interesting (and long) article by Philippe Demenet of 'Le Monde Diplomatique' (The Diplomatic World), accessible online at http://www.monde-diplomatique.fr/2002/02/DEMENET/16129, titled "Those who Benefit of Aids" ('Ces profiteurs du sida'). I will resume this article.

In I994, there was a new drug for aids, called Staduvin [I believe] and this drug earned Yale University at least 26I millions US$, 90% of the University's royalties wich permitted Yale to be one of the first US University to be spoiled by the intellectual property. The one who invent a new drug is the owner of it, as in any other invention. But nowadays, a certified invention is nothing without the market. In I998, two years after after deposing its certificate for Stadvin, the university gave to the pharmacy Bristol-Mayers Squibb (BMS) the exclusive rights to operate on the product. With these rights, BMS will gain a monopoly in every country where the university deposed its certificate : United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, South Africa, etc..., wich means that the company if free to impose the prices it wants (the freedom of the market) : therefore 4.56 US$ for 40 mg for one tab (the treatment is two tabs a day). In France, though, the company sells it 3.68 US$ (or 4.I2 euros), where the prices have to be negociate with the government [wich the companies are unhappy of it].

I will try to pass over the details, but, under the commercial name Zerit, staduvin will become the angular stone of anti-aids treatments. From I998 to the first semester of 2000, BMS will sell more than 2.3 billion US$, mainly in Occidental Europe and in the USA. In South Africa, the aids' nest, it will sold for 600 000 US$ in I998. It is sold, in that country, 2.23 US$ a dose... therefore, Zerit is not accessible for the population.

In South Africa, this problem will be the main argument for Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF - Doctors Without Borders, french Non-Governmental Organization [NGO]). MSF asked Yale University to "authorize the importation [in South Africa] of a generic version of staduvin to offer a free treatment to the ones affected by aids". MSF also mention that an Indian organization, Cipla Ltd, was ready to sell MSF a generic version of staduvin "costing 34 times less" than Zerit. Yale returned the problem to BMS, wich returned back to Yale. At the end of February 200I, at the same moment were 39 pharmatical companies attacked the South African government in justice because it authorized to resort to "obligatory certificates" in case of sanitary urgency, Yale errupted. A student in law, Amy Kapczynski, with the approval of a student's union, passes a petition wich will earn 600 signatures. "No one should die for economical reasons, without being able to buy a drug", said then Dr. Tai-Shun Lin wich helped in the creation of staduvin, "and I would be very happy not ot gain royalties if it could help to eradicate aids".

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The problem with the actual economical ideology (called neo-liberalism by intellectuals and left-wing people, like me [I'm not hidding my ideals]) is that everything is a product that is due to enter free-market rules. When a scientific invents a new drug, this drug is certified and then belongs to a (private) company wich gets the monopoly of it and fix the prices without considering the social condition of the countries where it is. The question is : is a drug is a product like any other product ? The answer is no. No, our global health isn't ruled by economical reasons.... or shouldn't be ruled by those economical reasons. Without starting another discussion, my provincial government spends each year I5% more money on our free Health Care system to be able to get the installations up-to-date, new equipment, new drugs, etc... it isn't perfect of course, but what is immoral is that Health Care equipments and drugs are entering in the free-market mentality like any other product. In the Third-World countries, this mentality leads to death, point.

The monopoly of a drug by a company, plus the actual economical mentality completely failed and is completely lost in the social aspect. What Mr. O'Neill should do is consider this and consider his experience in Africa and put pressure on the US Congress to eliminate those monopolies, put pressure on the US ambassador at the United Nations so the United Nations would, with the non-governmental organizations, have a solid plan to eradicate aids in Africa. Generic drugs is the solution, with a new economical mentality. Bono is a superstar, he is using his position to get peope interested and involved in that case and, I hope, not acquiesce at each words he says, like robots.

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UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) : www.unesco.org

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"The one who governs with weapons is surely poor in ideas" - Marcos

Solidarités : <A HREF="http://www.solidarites.org

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Parti</A> pour une Alternative Progressiste : www.parti-rap.org
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