Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


The British Medical Journal, in a fit of holiday beneficence unto the poor and unschooled, has made it's current issue free to all. It's partly whimsical, partly frivolous, and partly serious. It may amuse and/or enlighten to various degrees.

I'd just like to single out Joseph Stiglitz's contribution. As you are bored of reading about here, the system whereby drug companies get exclusive marketing rights to compounds they develop as a reward for their investment in research doesn't work very well. Without reciting once again all of the inefficiencies, distortions, and anti-social consequences, I'll just say that one consequence which is particularly offensive to Stiglitz is that the drug companies have no interest in diseases which principally affect poor people in poor countries, who can't pay big bucks for their products. Stiglitz proposes a prize fund for new remedies for these diseases. The winner would scoop up the prize, but the product would then be available for generic manufacture and inexpensive sale to the people who need it.

Sounds good to me. But of course, that would require use of tax moneys and action by government, which according to the Republican Party is immoral, at least when it benefits poor people. So we'll have to think of something else.

No comments: