US Indymedia Global Indymedia Publish About us
Printed from Boston IMC : http://boston.indymedia.org/
Boston.Indymedia
IVAW Winter Soldier

Winter Soldier
Testimonies
Brad Presente

Other Local News

Spare Change News
Open Media Boston
Somerville Voices
Cradle of Liberty
The Sword and Shield

Local Radio Shows

WMBR 88.1 FM
What's Left
WEDS at 8:00 pm
Local Edition
FRI (alt) at 5:30 pm

WMFO 91.5 FM
Socialist Alternative
SUN 11:00 am

WZBC 90.3 FM
Sounds of Dissent
SAT at 11:00 am
Truth and Justice Radio
SUN at 6:00 am

Create account Log in
Comment on this article | Email this article | Printer-friendly version
Commentary :: Human Rights : Politics
NCPA: Corporate Profits - Supercede Cancer Care Needs
04 Apr 2007
In the current system of drug development, if a promising compound can't be patented, it is highly unlikely ever to make it to market — no matter how well it performs in the laboratory. The development of new cancer drugs is crippled as a result, says columnist Ralph W. Moss.
In the current system of drug development, if a promising compound can't be patented, it is highly unlikely ever to make it to market — no matter how well it performs in the laboratory. The development of new cancer drugs is crippled as a result, says columnist Ralph W. Moss.

The reason: bringing a new drug to market is extremely expensive. Consider:
In 2001, the estimated cost was $802 million; today it is approximately $1 billion.
To ensure a healthy return on such staggering investments, drug companies seek to formulate new drugs in a way that guarantees watertight patents.

As a result, drugs that can't be patented are often scrapped, says Moss. For example:

1) In 2004, Johns Hopkins researchers discovered that an off-the-shelf compound called 3-bromopyruvate could arrest the growth of liver cancer in rats; with a treatment cost around 70 cents per day.
- Yet, three years later, no major drug company has shown interest in developing this drug for human use.

2) Early this year, another readily available industrial chemical, dichloroacetate, was found by researchers at the University of Alberta to shrink tumors in laboratory animals by up to 75 percent.
- However, dichloroacetate is not patentable either, and the lead researcher is concerned that it may be difficult to find funding from private investors to test the chemical.

Potential anticancer drugs should be judged on their scientific merit, not on their patentability, says Moss. One solution might be for the government to enlarge the Food and Drug Administration's "orphan drug" program, which subsidizes the development of drugs for rare diseases. The definition of orphan drug could be expanded to include unpatentable agents that are scorned as unprofitable by pharmaceutical companies.

Source: Ralph W. Moss, "Patents Over Patients," New York Times, April 1, 2007.
For text: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/opinion/01moss.html

For more on Health Issues:
http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_Category=16
See also:
http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?page=article&Article_ID=14390

Copyright by the author. All rights reserved.
Add a quick comment
Title
Your name Your email

Comment

Text Format
Anti-spam Enter the following number into the box:
To add more detailed comments, or to upload files, see the full comment form.