Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Oh, so that's what it's all about

So the New York Times did finally cover the UN meeting on non-communicable diseases! (See my previous post.) And on page A-1 no less! Yay!

However, I had to go to the skip on page 3 to figure out that they were in fact covering the meeting. The headline reads China and India making Inroads in Biotech Drugs, and the article focuses on the patent rights of U.S. biotechnology companies. It seems the reason us 'Merkins need to know about the UN meeting is because those thieving wogs are plotting to manufacture blockbuster biotech drugs and sell them to people in poor countries who can't afford the tens of thousands of dollars those poor, victimized drug companies are charging for them.

I know, it's absolutely scandalous that somebody would try to save lives in countries where people have dark pigmentation at the expense of your stock portfolio. Don't worry, even though he's a socialist, the president has your back:

Already, the Obama administration has been trying to stop an effort by poorer nations to strike a new international bargain that would allow them to get around patent rights and import cheaper Indian and Chinese knock-off drugs for cancer and other diseases, as they did to fight AIDS. The debate turns on whether diseases like cancer can be characterized as emergencies, or “epidemics.”

Now, it might occur to you that since these folks in the southern hemisphere can't afford the patented biotech drugs anyway, it's not really going to hurt Genentech in any obvious way if they turn to some other company which does provide an affordable version -- especially since those Indian manufacturers would actually pay a licensing fee to Genentech. But hey, they might lose a couple of sales to a plutocrat somewhere, and we can't risk that, now can we?

And here I thought the UN meeting was going to be about how to give billions of people healthier, longer lives. I'm so naive. It's about how to protect corporate profits. And obviously your president knows what's really important.


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