Important, this is.
India’s Efforts to Aid Poor Worry Drug Makers
New York Times, December 29, 2013
NEW DELHI — Alka Kudesia needs an expensive drug to treat her breast cancer, but refuses to tell her children for fear they will take out loans to buy the medicine and spend the rest of their lives in debt.
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The skirmishing over Herceptin and other cancer medicines is part of a new and critical phase in a long-running struggle to make drugs affordable to the world’s poorest people, one that began in earnest more than a decade ago when advocates campaigned successfully to make AIDS medicines accessible to millions of Africans.
“Cancer is the next H.I.V./AIDS issue, and the fight has only begun,” said Shamnad Basheer, a professor of law at West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences in Kolkata.
Phi Beta Iota: The human numbers are trivial — under 20 million for India. What is vastly more important is the mindset. Capitalism — and big pharma – have been focused on the one billion rich able to pay for designer drugs, most of which do not work as advertised. Now we need to shift our attention to the five billion poor, who, by the by, have four times the annual aggregate income of the one billion rich — four trillion dollars versus one trillion dollars.