Medicine wars

Published: Thursday 15 November 2001

-- Who pays for the research and development of new medicines? What medicines get most of the research and development money? These questions have been highlighted in the recent controversy regarding the cost of anti-HIV drugs in South Africa. Private companies seeking to maximise profits, spend on medicines that can be sold to richer, developed nations. The cost of this 'economic rationale' is borne by the people of developing and poor nations.Illnesses like malaria get ignored and millions are spent on research on drugs which promise to cure the ailments of affluence.

Drug wars

Pharmaceutical companies' claims of investing in research are disputable
The research and development cost of an average new drug is only US $57-71 million
Only 22 per cent of the new drugs in the last two decades were medicallyy innovative
Some of the top pharmaceutical companies spent twice the amount on advertisement than they did on research and development

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