Charlie's Angles

  • by: |
  • 10/18/2005

Senator Charles Schumer (R, NY) weighs in on the Tamiflu issue with the following perspective; “The problem is not the expense of the drug but rather the shortage of supply, which would immediately be rectified if other companies were able to produce it.” Well, kind of. “If” only it were as simple as gearing up mass production of Tamiflu the problem would indeed be helped, if not “immediately rectified.” But, unfortunately, it’s not so simple. Mark Twain said that for every complicated problem there is usually a simple solution — and it’s usually wrong. And Tamiflu production is extraordinarily complicated. We’re not talking about a toaster that can be mass-produced by anyone, anywhere in the world at any time. The Senator went on to say that the manufacturer of the drug, Roche, should be compensated fairly for giving up its rights over the drug. “I deeply respect the investment Roche has made in order to bring Tamiflu to market, but am confident that there is a way to both serve the public need and ensure that your company receives compensation,” he said in a letter to the company. Glad to hear that a well-respected United States Senator respects intellectual property rights. That’s a good point of departure. I wish the same could be said for rogue Indian patent thieves, the World Health Organization, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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