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Old 10-22-2001, 06:17 AM   #1
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Double standard?


A few months ago there was some discussion about the intention of some African countries to disregard patents for anti-AIDS medicines (OK, I wasn't checking this forum then, but I assume there was also talk about the subject here). In short, the argument of the countries was that the medicines of the pharmaceutical companies were too expensive because of the patents. By disregarding these patents and instead buying generic medicines many persons with AIDS could be treated.
AFAIK, the US (supported by the pharmaceutical companies) was against this intention and wanted to protect the patents.

After September 11 the world is not the same anymore...

In the US there is the threat of anthrax-attacks. To protect their civilians, the US government wants to have enough supplies of medicines against anthrax. There is one company in the US that produces these medicines (I can't remember the name, it was something like Cistro). The medicines are patented and a supply for one person for month costs 350 dollars. Outside the US there are generic (non-patented) medicines available and a monthly supply costs about 10 dollars. Now the US government wants to disregard the patent in the US and buy/use the generic medicine.

What's your opinion about this?

The underlying discussion will be: should medicines be patented or not?

I don't know it yet.
Developing a medicine takes years of research and costs hundreds of millions of dollars. So to guarantee adequate returns a medicine must have some protection in its first years. Having patents ensures that pharmaceutical companies keep on researching and developing new and/or improved medicines.
But should many people have to suffer because the medicine is only available at a high (too high) cost that they cannot afford?


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Old 10-22-2001, 08:04 AM   #2
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Local Time: 11:33 AM seems to me that medical companies have been getting greedier over the last decade. They've been patenting some pretty trivial genetic "discoveries" under the pretense of recovering their research costs. But that's just my opinion; anyone who can shed more light on this topic, please do.

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Old 10-22-2001, 11:55 AM   #3
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It is a double standard and it is about greed. What is the good of developing any medicine or vaccine if it is only going to be available to 5% of the worlds population?

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Old 10-22-2001, 12:34 PM   #4
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It is a double standard and it is about greed. What is the good of developing any medicine or vaccine if it is only going to be available to 5% of the worlds population?
Because that 5% will pay big $$$.

It's sad that disregarding patents to help a few million people in Africa is a considered by many capitalists as a crime against humanity, but doing the same to help people in the U.S, where infections of the disease they need the drugs for total about a dozen - it is a moral thing to do.

Oh, time the drug companies bitch about the need for high priced drugs to finance research, keep in mind that they spend as much advertising their perscription only drugs as they do reasearching new ones.
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