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Re: E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent

E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent

To John Urquart,

I live in Adelaide.  We have a capitalist economy.  However we live in one
of the driest parts of the World.  Consequently, our economy depends on
"water flowing up hill" 60 km from Mannum on the River Murray over the
Adelaide Hills!  This funded by all tax payers according to ability to pay.
 There is no patent on water.

The water pipeline is essential infrastructure for all of the economy.  So
is health care.

James Love's message re Government Funded Drugs provides further data
supporting my view that government funding for innovation is a viable
option.  It appears that government funding gets results even in the USA
despite competition for people from the drug companies.

There are many projects which give or loan money to poor people to enable
them to set up enterprises which create wealth and jobs.  I suggest you
contact your local OXFAM equivalent. 



Dr Peter Mansfield
Director, MaLAM

MaLAM encourages pharmaceutical companies to provide more reliable
information to assist appropriate health care.

MaLAM Headquarters
PO Box 172, Daw Pk SA 5041, Australia
phone/fax +61 8 8374 2245

> From: John Urquhart <urquhart@netcom.com>
> To: e-drug@usa.healthnet.org
> Subject: Re: E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent
> Date: Saturday, 16 May 1998 2:48
> *************************************
> E-DRUG: Guardian article on Meningitis Patent (4)
> It's always interesting to discuss such matters with people who confuse 
> abscissa and ordinate.  [This comment confuses me too! Moderator]
> The Soviet example is not just an N of 1, but an example of a huge 
> country with a well-educated population and a plethora of natural 
> resources that for 7 decades had a wide diversity of problems, of which 
> its meagre advances in medical technologies was but one. 
> There's an useful corollary to the point you're making: should an 
> individual of high net worth give his/her money to the poor to alleviate 
> their manifest problems and sufferings, or invest in an enterprise that 
> will create both wealth and jobs?  My reading of history leads me to the 
> inference that the consequences of the latter are preferable.  
> So it is, in my view, with investment in medical R&D, the benefits of
> which eventually reach to the ends of the earth.  But there is an
> reality underlying investment in medical R&D: it is high-risk investment,
> because of long time-lines and many uncertainties.  There is a capital
> market for high-risk investment money, which operates on the premise that
> success has brings high returns, when success occurs.  If those returns
> are undermined by compulsory licensing and other dreamy tinkerings with
> the marketplace, then the high-risk money goes elsewhere than to R&D on
> new medical technologies. Who benefits when that happens? 
> To deny the market economics of high-risk capital is to argue that water 
> will flow uphill if we want it to badly enough.  Of course, we can turn 
> to the government to make up for the flight of high-risk capital from 
> medical R&D, but that is ... guess what? ... the Soviet model, which, 
> notwithstanding all that it had goind for it, failed.
> John Urquhart MD FRCP (Edin)
> Professor of Pharmaco-epidemiology
> Maastricht University
> Maastricht, Netherlands
> --
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