Friday, May 08, 2009

Emerging diseases vs non-existent medicines

The continuing scare against influenza A(H1N1), previously called “swine flu”, is partly triggered by the absence of any existing vaccine that can control or kill the disease in the patient’s body. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no effective vaccine yet already available against the said virus, and making the new influenza vaccine can take five to six months. See

There is continuing improvement in medical science detection and identification of new, emerging or re-emerging diseases. But the capacity of drugs and vaccine manufacturers to quickly respond to sudden disease pandemic is limited. Partly because of the huge costs of R&D in simply anticipating new medicines for emerging diseases.

It is important to reiterate, therefore, to provide all the necessary incentives to people and companies whose business and profession, is developing new medicines for the people with varying diseases and health needs. If huge profit for a blockbuster medicine that can cure a new killer disease is the incentive, then give it to them. And since all companies, be they restaurants or a barber shop or a pharmaceutical company, are driven by profits, then the competition among medicine inventor companies will later drive down prices while ensuring more choices for patients.

The market system of reward and punishment, of profitability and bankruptcy, will ultimately be in the interest of patients and the sick.

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