Friday, April 06, 2007

3 times unlucky

I just finished inhaling an extremely large bowl of pasta in an attempt to lessen the nausea the antimalarial drug I'm taking causes. Yep, for the 3rd time in three years those little bastards got me.

The joints ache. The head aches. Shivering one minute, sweating bullets the next. The mind incessantly rambling to itself in an incoherent manner. Lacking the energy needed to simply sit on the toilet for more than 10 seconds. Not fun. Not fun at all.

Fortunately, I'm of the economically privileged compared to most in Africa. Death by malaria is not really possible in my case. I can afford some of the most powerful drugs on the market (less than 48 hours later I feel considerably better). But what comes with that privilege is discomfiting knowledge. The knowledge that in many cases, fellow beings are dying and/or suffering from illnesses that could be treated by affordable generic drugs. But generally, the poor are not allowed to make them. Instead, they are often placated with handouts. Why? Patent law says so.

Is there not a better way to deal with this situation rather than granting exclusive patent rights on health-care products?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow the things people do for money are really incredible.

Blogger Gnuosphere said...

Well the traditional argument is that exclusive patents are needed to make the money spent on research and development of the drugs themselves. However, with some organization and cooperation I don't see why critical drugs cannot be researched and developed patent-free. Honestly, I don't know a lot about the whole process nor what would be the best thing to do - I'm sure there are enlightened voices out there that I'm not aware of (any informative links would be appreciated!)

I'm sure many might laugh (i.e. those who perceive society to be purely a money-driven entity) at the idea of "cooperation" actually working but if it can be done in the world of software then why not?

Anonymous Lesley said...

Hey Pete,
Sorry to hear it was malaria. Hope the drugs have kicked in!

Thinking a lot about our chats over patent licenses, freedom of information and other issues. Interesting article today that announced that the CEO of a major petroleum company in the states just received the biggest benefit payment in history... $400 million...
wonder if he'll use any of that to compensate for the environmental devastation his company is causing? probably not...maybe add another lear jet to the collection. sigh.

on another interesting note, read an article in the Globe and Mail that reported internet use in China hasn't proven to be a tool for promoting democracy, rather its "netizens" are plugging into entertainment. 70% of its users are under the age of 30, opposite of the West, where 70% of internet users are over the age of 30. So these Chinese adolescents are using the net to post images and webpages devoted to themselves and videos they make of lip-synching to the Backstreet Boys. Hopefully the silver lining will be the fact that in 10 years, this adolescent crowd will be internet surfing adults with a focus on improving their human rights... I hope.


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