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Submitted by Mark on
According to the World Health Organization, about 10 million people—most of them in low- and middle-income countries—die needlessly every year because they do not have access to existing medicines and vaccines. Countless others suffer from neglected tropical diseases, such as sleeping sickness, lymphatic filariasis, and blinding trachoma, for which there are still too few safe or effective medicines. Drug companies have traditionally been reluctant to develop drugs for neglected diseases because the patients are too poor to pay for them, so there is no financial incentive for drug development. Comprehensive solutions are thus needed to increase both access to existing medicines and research on neglected diseases. These solutions must involve strengthening health-care systems in poor countries, increasing financial flows for the most pressing public health crises, and better matching our research and development efforts to the needs of the poor. The challenges of making such wholesale changes are daunting. First, it is important to note that for any given product, a pharmaceutical company's bottom line would remain relatively intact. Equitable Access Licensing works by dividing the world pharmaceutical market between rich and poor countries. Consider, for example, any university innovation that has been developed into a drug. That drug can remain under patent protection in high-income countries, where the pharmaceutical industry earns the vast majority of its revenue. Generic competition is allowed only in markets where there is little access—and, therefore, little revenue—in the first place. Let me know what you think about this report Mark,