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Old 02-05-2003, 07:51 PM   #1
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Poor Nations Want Access to Vital Drugs

Wow, are they out of line, competing with our God given right to profit!

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By NAOMI KOPPEL
GENEVA (AP) - Diplomats from poor nations on Wednesday hit out at new attempts to ensure them cheap access to vital drugs, claiming rich countries are making proposals they know will be rejected.

They rallied to support South Africa, which told a meeting of the World Trade Organization that a new proposal by Japan on rules for overriding patents to treat illnesses like HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria is missing the real point of contention between nations.

``We should stop wasting our time on proposals that clearly will not bring us to the real problem, which is the United States' position,'' said Brazilian diplomat Antonio de Aguiar Patriota.

Talks to settle the issue collapsed shortly before Christmas after the United States refused to accept a proposal that was approved by the WTO's other 143 members.

Japan's proposal - like those made by the United States and the European Union before it - suggests producing a list of 22 diseases that are included, though new ones could be added in the future if there is a public health need.

But developing nations said any proposal that included a list would be unacceptable because trade ministers agreed in 2001 that the decision on what constituted a public health crisis would be left with individual governments.

``It is again a question of interpretation of something that has already been decided,'' said Indian Ambassador K.M. Chandrasekhar of the Japanese plan.

``Maybe it solves the problem for the U.S. pharmaceutical companies but not for us,'' Patriota added.

Trade ministers meeting in Qatar in November 2001 recognized the right of WTO members to override patents on expensive Western drugs and make the products themselves when public health is at stake.

However, drugs made under such ``compulsory licensing'' were to be used only domestically and not exported. As most developing countries have no drug industry, they cannot benefit because they can neither make the drugs they need nor import them.

The problem was supposed to be settled by the end of last year, but Washington has held out, claiming that some countries could use the rules to ignore patents on drugs to treat noninfectious illnesses like asthma, diabetes or obesity. That could remove the incentive for drug companies to develop new treatments, it said.

``More and more pharmaceutical research is being conducted in the United States because of the environment that is provided there for research, and it is extremely important not just for the United States and the manufacturers but for the world that we maintain that research capability,'' Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Peter Allgeier said Tuesday.

Talks are expected to continue over the next few days but it seems unlikely that the problem can be settled before the WTO General Council - which has to take the final decision - meets on Monday and Tuesday.
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Old 02-05-2003, 07:59 PM   #2
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I just read an article in the New Yorker that was similar to this. Drug companies don't want to give drugs to poor countries for free because there is no profit. and the people who would benefit the most from an AIDS vaccine are poor people who wouldn't be able to fund the research for a vaccine or pay for the vaccine itself.

And why would you want a vaccine for AIDS? Same with a vaccine for cancer? these companies make so much money from drugs why would they want to create a one-time vaccine that solves the problem? but that of course that diverts this thread from drug company greed to conspiracy theory and I would like to stick to the greed thing.
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Old 02-05-2003, 08:50 PM   #3
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The pharmaceutical industry is a major problem. It is very much clear that they pursue profits over health. Re-regulation anyone?

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Old 02-05-2003, 10:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Re-regulation anyone?

Melon
Count me in, plus stronger ethic laws.
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Old 02-05-2003, 10:29 PM   #5
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It is easy, however, to overlook the costs of testing and development of new drugs. Getting FDA approval is no easy task.
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Old 02-06-2003, 02:33 AM   #6
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Costs are a huge part of running a business though nbcrusader. If making pharmaceuticals is your business, you have to expect these are part and parcel of it, if they expect to put it on the market to keep up these multi million dollar profits.
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Old 02-06-2003, 04:50 AM   #7
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Another interesting problem here is:

The pharmaceutical industry can make more money if they don't cure people but just ease the pain a little and keep them sick.

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Old 02-07-2003, 01:01 AM   #8
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Uh, don't get me started on the pharmaceutical companies
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Old 02-07-2003, 05:20 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
Costs are a huge part of running a business though nbcrusader. If making pharmaceuticals is your business, you have to expect these are part and parcel of it, if they expect to put it on the market to keep up these multi million dollar profits.
Angela.......


WHY AREYOU YELLING????

lol....sorry, it's your little face thing. Everytime I read your posts, i feel like you are yelling
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Old 02-07-2003, 05:21 AM   #10
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Maybe we should use another economic system in the medical industry since capitalism, seems to not coincide the the HYPOCRITIC oath?
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Old 02-07-2003, 05:59 AM   #11
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lol, sorry bout that Dreadsox! Someone else said my posts always look like I'm angry...maybe I should change it...


*whispers this so dreadsox doesn't get the wrong idea about my very annoyed avatar*

I'm not at all familiar with the hypocratic oath, so I'm not sure if you meant that it doesn't sit well with it or your were kinda joking. I always thought it was a pledge of sorts by doctors to 'promise' to fulfill the whole patient care, morality, ethics, yada yada. Pharmaceutical companies dont actually have any kind of obligation do they? Surely none of our governments would ever try to enforce that, they'd lose too much money.
This last week, I spent approximately $100 on scripts. Half of that was insulin alone. Rest was just random things that all came up at once...not that I'm chronically ill or anything ...just yeah...But anyways, everytime I buy insulin I bitch for about a week at the costs of it. But I heard wonderful news the other day, Eli Lilly one of the makers of my insulin has just spent an obscene amount of money developing a product to beat Viagra. I'm so happy for them, I could almost burst. Priorities, these companies do not have. Ethics are something they are just plumb not familiar with.

nb: hope the sarcastic parts of this post were obvious, apologies if they aren't.
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Old 02-07-2003, 06:24 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem

I'm not at all familiar with the hypocratic oath, so I'm not sure if you meant that it doesn't sit well with it or your were kinda joking.
It is a little of both. I am concerned that HMO's are getting too much control over the treatment of patients? I hope this makes some sense.

I know the companies do not take one.

Peace
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Old 02-07-2003, 07:46 AM   #13
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Reports on Pharm companies show they spend more money on advertising, especially TV, than they do on R&D. So you can run to your doctor and tell him you want "Singular" or whatever.

In the State of the Union, Bush verbally approved generic AIDS medicines. But how will that change the US stance on other needed drugs.
They should be regulated as should the insurance industry. The gov't is limiting malpractice awards to keep down costs, again taking it out on the victims, instead of regulating the insurance companies premiums. The US is so messed up. Always going for the Corporations.
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Old 02-07-2003, 08:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
Maybe we should use another economic system in the medical industry since capitalism, seems to not coincide the the HYPOCRITIC oath?
The medical industry is not competitive anyway. Health insurance ensures inelastic demand, and, as such, that is why they have been able to charge whatever the hell it wants, no matter how obscene and overpriced that price is. In addition, because some nations were smart enough to regulate the prices of health care, the pharmaceutical companies simply jack up the prices here in the U.S. to make up for lost profits abroad.

So, yes, we need to re-regulate the medicine badly.

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Old 02-07-2003, 09:24 AM   #15
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scarlet -- interesting you brought up the cost of TV ads. There was a story I came across recently that said more Americans than ever are asking doctors for drugs and part of the reason is because of the ads.

These ads have led to the over-medication of seniors. I love my grandmother but she's a drug addict. She takes so many pills for so many things. I understand she's old and may have to take things to keep her body going but drugs and drugs and drugs are over the top. The leading cause for people to go in to rehab is for prescription drugs like pain killers. My grandmother, like most seniors, has been on painkillers for YEARS and yet no one seems concerned by this trend.

Maybe instead of worrying about a nation-wide prescription plan for seniors, we should worry about over-medication of seniors. Hell, maybe we should worry about the over-medication of everyone in this country.
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Old 02-09-2003, 03:14 PM   #16
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A quote from Bono:
"I am made sorely aware of how we need the
pharmaceutical companies - we need their scientists …
their research departments… their determination - to
reduce the cost of these life-saving drugs. I make a
note to ring Ray Gilmartin of Merck and Peter Dolan of
Bristol Myers Squibb. I know they're paying attention." I didn't cite the actual speech that this quote came from but I think it was from one during his tour of the Mid West.

Like all of you that have responded in this thread, I am mostly discouraged about the lack of responsibility that pharmaceutical companies have taken in this crisis. There are a few glimmers of hope though. Check out http://www.securethefuture.com. Sherry Darling got me going last year on writing Congress so I have taken it a bit further and have written Peter Dolan of Bristol Myers Squibb a couple of times this past year and praised him the work with Secure the Future and encouraged him to also work towards allocating more of his company's money to efforts like this. In addition, I've asked for compassion in providing free drugs to African nations.

Here's the address if you'd like to provide him with another nudge.

Peter R. Dolan,
Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer
Bristol-Myers Squibb Company
World Headquarters
345 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10154-0037


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Old 02-09-2003, 03:30 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by sharky
scarlet -- interesting you brought up the cost of TV ads. There was a story I came across recently that said more Americans than ever are asking doctors for drugs and part of the reason is because of the ads.

These ads have led to the over-medication of seniors. I love my grandmother but she's a drug addict. She takes so many pills for so many things. I understand she's old and may have to take things to keep her body going but drugs and drugs and drugs are over the top. The leading cause for people to go in to rehab is for prescription drugs like pain killers. My grandmother, like most seniors, has been on painkillers for YEARS and yet no one seems concerned by this trend.

Maybe instead of worrying about a nation-wide prescription plan for seniors, we should worry about over-medication of seniors. Hell, maybe we should worry about the over-medication of everyone in this country.

Good points. I remember going to a nursing home when I was an allied health student and looking at the charts. It's insane how much medication they were giving out. Do they really need all of this stuff? It's scary.
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Old 02-09-2003, 05:26 PM   #18
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Speaking as someone who worked in a pharmacy for several years, I agree with the points scarletwine made about many people being overmedicated. It wasn't unusual for me to dispense scripts with eight or nine items on them and often the patient hadn't even seen his/her doctor in months, they were simply a regular repeat prescription without ever being reviewed. Often the patients wouldn't even know why they were taking a medication, for instance, they'd take an analgesic four times daily without realising it was only necessary if they were suffering from pain. Alternatively they'd be prescribed one medication, and suffer from side-effects, but instead of considering changing the initial treatment, their doctors would prefer to add another medication to treat the side-effect.

So I'd agree partly it's irresponsible marketing by pharmaceutical companies, although in the UK pharmaceuticals are primarily marketed to physicians as prescription medications can't be advertised to the public here. However, it's also partly that doctor's don't have time to treat their patients properly - if a GP is expected to spend less than ten minutes with a patient then it's easy for them to look for a 'quick-fix' solution which is often to prescribe them medication instead of actually looking further at the problem. That's one of the reasons that anti-depressents are so over prescribed - it's easier to write a script for fluoxetine, paroxetine, venlafaxine etc than to refer a patient to a counselor, particularly when you know there's a six month waiting list for treatment.

:::refrains from long rant about the NHS::: Honestly, you'd wonder why I want to work for them, wouldn't you?
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Old 02-09-2003, 07:03 PM   #19
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Melon:
I agree with Dreadsox, that capitalism in healthcare industry is problematic since it would be verry lucrative not to cure patients but make them dependent on the pills you produce.

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Old 02-09-2003, 07:20 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by Klaus
Melon:
I agree with Dreadsox, that capitalism in healthcare industry is problematic since it would be verry lucrative not to cure patients but make them dependent on the pills you produce.

Klaus

I agree.
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