S. 4040 - Importance of this Legislation

Posted

This is going to be a rather strange post, I fear. I am taking a global health class right now in pursuit of my masters degree. The topic at hand is health disparities between wealthy and poor countries. Hundreds of thousands of people are dying in South Africa because they cannot afford the medication to treat malaria. The pharmaceutical companies are monopolizing the market and demanding a very high price for the medication.

The pharmaceutical companies do not actually develop and patent new medications, university students research and develop new medications. The universities they attend obtain patents for new medications. The universities then enter into a license agreement with large pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical companies are able to control how all countries obtain their medications (thus, prohibiting the use of generic drugs).

The students of the universities are banding together in an effort to make their discoveries available to poor countries such as Africa and India (Aids/Malaria/tuberculosis). Their coalition is called: Universities Allied for Essential Medicines.

Senator Patrick Leahy has proposed a bill (S. 4040) to decrease the power pharmaceutical companies have in how poor nations access life-saving medications. This bill would require a clause in licensee agreements between universities and pharmaceutical companies that allows the use of generic drugs in third-world countries. The bill is still in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Please, if you think that this is important, Google: Senate Judiciary Committee and send a quick e-mail to Senator Leahy stating that you support this bill. It is a shame that millions die (children included) due to a treatable disease such as malaria for greed's sake.

Thanks a bunch!

classicdame

classicdame, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator. 2 Articles; 7,255 Posts

You are right, it is a shame. But if the law passes then can companies afford research and development? Will people be able to get the meds online and find they have inconsistency in dosing or quality. I wonder if there are kick-backs from the African govts that make it hard to distribute these meds. That is what Bill Gates has inferred - the meds are there sitting on docks because of red tape within that country. Horrible how people are so cruel.

tamadrummer

tamadrummer

Specializes in 1st year Critical Care RN, not CCRN cert. Has 1 years experience. 150 Posts

Where do those university students get the granting and funding for the research that the big bad horrible "fat cat" pharmaceutical companies profit from, come from?

Those same companies. I am not worried one little bit about some other country and their issues. If their money and their non-capitalistic systems keep their people in the ditches, unable to afford a living because the people in power have 100% control and the people in the ditches have nothing but a gun to the back of their heads because of how compassionate the socialist, communist system are. Sorry, but that is why everyone wants to be in the USA.

Patrick Leahy's bill and any other that butts in where the market should be working will only make it worse for us here in the country that developed the drug in the first place. How about letting generosity take over and getting the legislative choke hold off the market. We are the most generous nation in history and now they want more. No thanks, laws stop people from giving because they are forced to do the minimum vs. being allowed to do as much as they want.

elkpark

14,633 Posts

You are right, it is a shame. But if the law passes then can companies afford research and development?

US pharmaceutical companies currently spend as much on advertising as they do on R&D -- perhaps, if providing life-saving medications to third-world countries at a reasonable cost would cut into their bottom line, they could cut back on their advertising budgets ...

usalsfyre

usalsfyre

Specializes in CCT. Has 8 years experience. 194 Posts

How about we loosen the restrictions on the best treatment of malaria, prevention. Currently the cheapest, most effective agent for killing malarial mosquitoes is DDT. Yet, due to mass overspraying of it during the 50s it is now a banned substance. Perhaps we should think about allowing controlled use of the right pesticide. This would probably save a lot more folks than manipulating market prices.

RLeeRN

RLeeRN

62 Posts

You are right, it is a shame. But if the law passes then can companies afford research and development? Will people be able to get the meds online and find they have inconsistency in dosing or quality. I wonder if there are kick-backs from the African govts that make it hard to distribute these meds. That is what Bill Gates has inferred - the meds are there sitting on docks because of red tape within that country. Horrible how people are so cruel.

I think your concerns are valid. Tons of dollars flow into third world countries from taxpayer money from the federal Gov or from private donation from American citizens. However, once the money is in the hands of these corrupt third world governments it vanishes. It will most likely decrease incentive for companies to producet these meds if they know that the Federal Government is going to force them to essentially give away a product that will no doubt be used by corrupt officials in a third world country as a weapon of power against their own people like they do with food, and other basic supplies. When will we stop thinking that forcing people to give their money away to others will never work. Sure it sounds noble, and compassionate, but do a little research and see how the nations corrupt leaders bleed every dollar for the U.S.A to "donate" goods, and equipment, and then profit off of it.

2011NursingStudent

2011NursingStudent

346 Posts

It's not that simple - due to the vast quantity of times the treatments have already been used, it is not as effective in the places hardest hit by malaria. Malaria is already resistant to these drugs in many places.

TheLastTime

TheLastTime

49 Posts

I think your concerns are valid. Tons of dollars flow into third world countries from taxpayer money from the federal Gov or from private donation from American citizens. However, once the money is in the hands of these corrupt third world governments it vanishes. It will most likely decrease incentive for companies to producet these meds if they know that the Federal Government is going to force them to essentially give away a product that will no doubt be used by corrupt officials in a third world country as a weapon of power against their own people like they do with food, and other basic supplies. When will we stop thinking that forcing people to give their money away to others will never work. Sure it sounds noble, and compassionate, but do a little research and see how the nations corrupt leaders bleed every dollar for the U.S.A to "donate" goods, and equipment, and then profit off of it.

This.

jmqphd

jmqphd

212 Posts

Whoa there missy...

You're simply wrong about how drugs are developed and what goes on in Universities. Science Departments (Cell-Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Physiology, Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry etc.) in Universities do BASIC research. Very, very basic. They discover how a particular voltage gated potassium channel is regulated, what subunits of heptahelical G-protein linked receptor are upregulated to cause synaptic plasticity in dorsal root ganglia, how heat-shock proteins are effected by MAP kinase activity. etc. etc. The minutia is mind boggling. But basic research is foundational even though it probably won't result in actual treatments or medications for decades if not generations.

Please. You are simply wrong and the the activities in Pharmaceutical Research and Universities have been dictated to you and distorted in your class. Even in big Pharma research and development departments there is a LOT of basic research. Both Big Pharma and Universities publish, and contribute to huge conferences. (Go on-line and see if you can get the list of institutions and companies giving plenary addresses, and doing posters at the next FASEB meetings.) There is a huge amount of sharing. There is a flow of scientific personnel that move from Universities to Industry and back to Universities.

Please be a little bit reflective about what you hear. Don't swallow everything you get in a class. Ask yourself if you're hearing both sides of the argument. Well... did both sides of the research spectrum get an unbiased hearing in your class? Did your professor assign you readings from a variety of sources and/or have people from industry come in and talk to your class? Did your professor even bring in a scientist from your University's science departments to explain the research they do? How much independent reading did you do on this subject?

For Pete's sake, you can go to NIH and get a list of all the grants they've awarded and to whom. That simple exercise of independent thinking on your part would show that your professor is totally impeached, deliberately mendacious, unreliable and agenda-driven. (Apart from that I'm sure he/she is a genuine scholar and Renaissance thinker.)

Don't be so credulous. Remember... whenEVER anything is politicized (whether it's religion, or education policy, or public health, or charity, or history, or nutrition or you name it) it gets trivialized and twisted.

The first casualty in war (AND politics) is truth.

And dear readers, please read the bill and get information from a variety of sources before you lend your name to any politician's cause. (BTW: Send a letter supporting your Senator's bill and see how fast his re-election committee has you on their mailing list and speed dial.)

No matter how cynical you get... you can't keep up.

Edited by jmqphd

jmqphd

jmqphd

212 Posts

Oh, and finally, S. 4040 is the "Create Incentive to Send Research Overseas Act". What makes you think Pharmaceutical Companies can only work out of the United States?