Rebuilding Foundations

An exploration of international development work in Africa

3. Support access to cheap medical drugs

Back to #3 on the Ways to Help from Home list.

Keep in mind that I’m not an expert in Intellectual Property (IP) rights so the intricacies are totally lost on me.  But I’ve read a few editorials about it so I have an opinion anyways.

The pharmaceutical industry claims that it needs IP rights as incentive to do expensive research.  If they gave away their secrets so that cheaper, knock-off drugs can be produced, then they lose all that research investment money.

I don’t agree with that argument.  Producing cheap drugs for developing country won’t affect their profits that much.  The fear is that the cheap drugs will make their ways onto the First World market – but let’s be realistic.  Would you buy the expensive HIV/AIDS drugs that are from a known producer or black market drugs?  Unless you’re in the U.S. where the health care system is stupid, you (or your insurance provider) will pay the big money.

Big Pharma has already lost many battles in the IP war, mainly due to international pressure and the horrible public relations fallout.  Keep up the pressure.  The fight isn’t over yet.

While I’m talking about medical issues, support companies that are researching diseases that disproportionately affect the Global South.  As Bill Gates says, every year more money is spent on anti-balding and erectile dysfunction research than malaria and HIV/AIDS research.  Only 10% of pharmaceutical research is spent on the diseases that affect 90% of the world population.

That’s ridiculous.  I just had malaria and spent days in bed, wondering why my stupid daily $5/Malerone pill failed me and why there isn’t a vaccine for this parasite yet.

Lastly, get your kids immunized.  It’s disturbing that western middle- and upper-class parents have stop immunizing their children.  If you don’t agree, take a science class.  Then immunize your children.


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  1. Pingback: Ways to Help from Home | Rebuilding Foundations

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