Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Generics and their availability to poorer nations

The New York Times recently looked at the availability of drugs to treat cancer, diabetes and heart disease in poorer nations.  While 80% of the drugs produced in the world are produced in China and India, it's found that the population doesn't have access to these drugs because of cost.  However, if generic versions of the drugs produced at these plants were available to the citizens of poorer countries, many lives would be saved.  Non communicable diseases are responsible for 2/3rds of the death today.  So how do these drugs, readily available in developed nations, find their way to aid others?  Many of the generic drug companies in these countries are trying to find ways to get these drugs to the poorer nations, including selling them at discounted rates

Generic drugs is often the answer, however the drugs that provide treatment are often a large source of revenue for the companies producing them.  According to the New York Times:
Obama administration has been trying to stop an effort by poorer nations to strike a new international bargain that would allow them to get around patent rights and import cheaper Indian and Chinese knock-off drugs for cancer and other diseases.

When the AIDS epidemic was was plaguing the African continent, patent rights were waived to treat those citizens.  But this article asks if the AIDS Epidemic is different from the non-communicable diseases plaguing many nations today.

Are AIDS and diseases such as breast cancer and diabetes parallel in developing nations?  What impact could generic drug companies distributing copies of these drugs in poorer countries have?  Can big Pharma find a way to help meet the needs of those patients?

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