More on Generic Drugs Global Classrooms 2013 Rachel Hunkler
Non-communicable diseases • Also known as “chronic diseases” • They are not contagious! • Ex: cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, MS, arthritis, heart disease • “…non-communicable disease…accounts for more than 60 percent of deaths globally (80% in the developing world)” 1 • Big Pharma relies on profits from the sales of medicines for these diseases • Big Pharma says nations abuse the rights to issue compulsory licenses • Especially middle-income nations with non-communicable diseases! 1Global Classrooms, . Global Classrooms. World Health Organization (WHO). Print.
Stop and think… • Out of 57 million global deaths in 2008, 36 million (63%) were due to non-communicable diseases. Do you think this is a problem that the UN needs to tackle?? • Many developed nations have strict patent protection laws. They say that diseases such as cancer and diabetes are less than an emergency than HIV/AIDs, malaria, and TB. What do you think??
Generic Drug Market • 79% of the world market relies on generic drugs • 80% of all generic AVRs (drugs to fight HIV/AIDs) are made in India! • Top generic drug companies: • Ratiopharm (Germany) • Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (Israel) • Ranbaxy (India) • In 2012, many AVR patents expired and many more will expire in 2014. What does this mean for Big Pharma??
“Tiered Pricing” • Tiered Pricing allows developing nations to buy directly from Big Pharma companies at lower prices. • Tiered Pricing reduces the need for compulsory licenses. • How does this affect low-income countries (undeveloped)?? • How does this affect middle-income countries (developing)??
“Patent Pooling” • UNITAID = UN initiative dealing with the purchase of medical drugs • Clinton Foundation + UNITAID = “Medical Patent Pool” program Generic Drug for Malaria Generic Drug for TB Generic Drug for HIV/AIDs Medical Patent Pool http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vj0dbFgjoh4
Recent International Agreements • TRIPS Agreement in 1994 • 20-year patent period became the law • Compulsory patent licenses can be issued in times of severe emergencies • Doha Declaration in 2011 • If one nation issues a compulsory license, other nations can simply buy the drugs from that nation
Up for Debate… • Is it fundamentally unfair for generic drugs to be produced at all? Is it right that smaller companies can make money of the R&D of large pharmaceutical companies? Does the fact that it makes lifesaving drugs more accessible make a difference? • Since lifesaving drugs are generally inaccessible to the world’s poor during the patent period, critics charge that major drug companies are simply profiting at the expense of the lives of the world’s poor. Given that patents make drugs less accessible, is it right to patent them at all? Global Classrooms, . Global Classrooms. World Health Organization (WHO). Print.