WHATS THE PROBLEM?
Millions of people around the world are missing the vital medicines they need to survive because the system for developing new medicine is failing.
It limits competition and innovation…
…which means that vital drugs are either too expensive…
…or simply “missing” for the people who need them.
Rather than medical research and development (R&D) being driven by public health need our current system for developing medicines is driven by profit. This means…
MEDICINES ARE BECOMING MORE AND MORE EXPENSIVE – New treatments for people living with HIV in middle-income countries can cost between $3,000 and $28,000 per person per year and here in the UK a 24 week course of Hep C drugs costs £69,965.88!
The reason medicines cost so much is because the pharmaceutical companies who produce the medicines PATENT them. This patent gives pharmaceutical companies a 20 year monopoly over the product, which means no other company can produce it. With no competition, pharmaceutical companies can charge whatever price they like. And that’s exactly what they do!
UNPROFITABLE DISEASES DON’T GET RESEARCHED – big pharma like to make big profits, so they spend their time and money developing medicines that they can sell for as much as possible. This means that the health needs of poorer markets – people in low and middle-income countries – get largely ignored.
For instance in the last 50 years, we’ve only produced 2 new treatments for tuberculosis (TB) a disease which claims the lives of 1.5 million people a year. In that same time period we’ve developed 14 new treatments for hay fever, which kills no-one. The reason for the severe lack of research into new TB drugs is because over 95% of TB deaths happen in low and middle income countries.
This issue doesn’t just affect people living in low and middle income countries it affects us here in the UK too. We are in desperate need of new antibiotics because of growing resistance to the ones we have currently, but because doctors will be discouraged from administering them in the future – due to anxieties about creating more resistance – there is little market incentive to produce them.
WE WASTE PRECIOUS RESEARCH MONEY – this whole system means companies don’t share information, more research goes on safe bets – copying existing drugs rather than solving unsolved problems, and public investment in research gets forgotten when companies take it over. It is really inefficient!
TB Patient Story
Now I have accepted that I have to live with MDR TB for almost two years, I try not to stress much! I just want to get ovet it and move on with my life because this disease has stopped my plans of continuing to be involved with my TV commercials and plans I had of travelling to Johannesburg.Nikiwe Gwebani
Access to Insulin
My name is Mbolonzi, and I was diagnosed with T1 diabetes in July 2013 when I was 29 years old. I lost too much weight, my skin had become so dry, I took much water, maybe up to 5 litres in day. I also frequented the washrooms more than ever before and I woke up tired every morning.Mbolonzi