In an e-mail today from the folks over at MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res discuss this week's meeting in Geneva of the WHO's Intergovernmental Working Group for Public Health, Innovation, and Intellectual Property (IGWG).
Here's what MSF has to say about the current fight against "neglected" diseases:
"â€œThe R&D system is broken. It is not delivering,â€ said Dr. Tido von Schoen-Angerer, Director of MSFâ€™s Access to Essential Medicines Campaign."
And here's what the infamous Jamie Love said in an ensuing paragraph:
"We need new mechanisms and institutional responses to move toward a paradigm of innovation plus access, rather than a set of poorly functioning trade-offs. The big ideas in the negotiation are patent pools, prizes and a treaty on medical R&D. They are also the most
What a terrific example of the "Big Lie."
Consider what Solomon Nwaka (leader of drug discovery activities at the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases at the WHO) wrote (along with other co-authors from Pfizer) on the subject of finding ways to battle tropical diseases:
"Scaling up drug-discovery capacity for neglected diseases means designing a mechanism that is attractive to all stakeholders â€” such as industry, academia, governments and international agencies â€” involved in drug discovery. Despite a lack of market incentive, about half of the research projects currently focusing on neglected diseases are conducted by pharmaceutical companies. Several large companies, most notably GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly, have founded research institutes dedicated to research into tropical diseases. Industry also makes a substantial contribution in kind to publicâ€“private product-development partnerships. Also, in recent years, funding from governments and philanthropic foundations has helped to establish new drug-discovery units for tropical diseases in developed and developing countries."
Here is a link to the complete article in Nature:
And let's not forget what Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's Director-General had to say about why communicable diseases remain such a large problem in poor countries and are often neglected by research and development. One reason, she said, is that the pharmaceutical industry "has little incentive to develop drugs and vaccines for markets that cannot pay."
Indeedn if a company stands no chance of recouping even a portion of that investment, where is its incentive to tackle the many diseases that ravage the developing world?
And yet, according to MSF, "intellectual property is not a significant factor in contributing to innovation for diseases that disproportionately affect developing countries."
Thomas Carlyle said, "Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance but to do what lies clearly at hand." Mr. Love and his friends at MÃ©decins Sans FrontiÃ¨res are trying to sell a "vision" that, conveniently, blames the West for the problems of the developing world while what "lies clearly at hand" is almost exactly the opposite -- that the rule of law that has allowed for the development of the modern pharmaceutical industry via protection of interllectual property is what lights the road to victory over the scourge of neglected diseases.