|laziness, impatience, and hubris|
Re: (OT) Would you work at a pharmaceutical company?by simonm (Vicar)
|on Nov 17, 2005 at 22:18 UTC||Need Help??|
... infriging medical patents is just like pirating software. Someone invested money and effort, are you gonna steal it?
Neither copyright nor patent violation involves "stealing" someone's money and effort.
If you violated the patent and made a dose of the medicine to keep a child from going blind, the accountants at the drug company don't come in the next day and find that their safe has been busted open and their stack of cash is gone.
So-called "intellectual property rights" are not natural (or "God-given") human rights; they are instead granted by a society, because we believe that it helps to align profit motive with the overall societal interest. (For example, the US Constitution puts it this way: "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries".)
Those commercial interests must be balanced against the fundamental human and societal interests which they are supposed to serve.
Feel free to get on your high horse to denounce teenagers for downloading cracked copies of Duke Nukem -- but if you are going to talk about little children going blind, you ought to balance that ideology with some humanity.
We may try as we can, pump money, food and medicine into these parts, but ...
This isn't a question of "us" "pumping money" into "those parts" -- it's a question of large corporations sucking money out.
The actual production of most pharmaceuticals can be carried out in the "developing" world; for example India has a bunch of manufacturing plants that can make generic versions of almost anything, and I'm sure they're not alone.
The question is one of licensing payments, pumping money *out* of the poor countries and into the richer ones.
If local governements or intertnational aid workers are trying to treat a disease, and in addition to the $30 for manufacturing they also have to pay $30 to the American company that owns the patent, they're only going to be able to buy half as many doses, and that means little children will be permanently blind.
... until they learn to make only as many kids as THEY can feed ... all the help will only increase the problems. The more children we save, the more children we have to feed and the even more children get born.
Wait a second -- we're talking about a medicine that keeps children from going blind.
Presumably, being blind is going to make it much harder for those children to grow up to be self-sufficient and take care of their own problems, right? People blinded since childhood are more likely to be dependent on aid, as opposed to someone with sight who can try to farm or get a job, right?
So what's the upside of having the children go blind?
Are you hoping that once they're blinded, they're more likely to die, so you won't have to send them food aid anymore?
Or that maybe if they're blind they'll be less able to find a partner and have children of their own? It seems like a small step from that position to deliberate infection, forced sterilization, and other totally inhumane treatment.
Do you want to walk that one back a little?