Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Forbes' Matt Herper Is Right: This Is A "Must-See" On HIV!

Even so, at $13,000 to $17,000 per year in cost -- only the developed world's most wealthy, or well-insured, will see the benefits, over the longer haul. [See some of my earlier background, here -- by clicking the image, at right.]

I give the drugmakers (New Merck included!) credit here -- but it leaves us with some hard public policy choices: should governments largely subsidize these drugs for their populations affected by HIV? Should the pharma companies be nudged to make them at no better than internal break-even prices, rather than as vast profit centers? In areas of the world where companies like Merck will never be able to sell them at a profit (think the Sudan), should international charities be granted compulsory licenses to these patented methods and compositions of matter, to make them absolutely as cheaply as possible -- in markets that will never be able to afford retail (i.e., where Merck will never sell them, anyway)?

These are hard -- and important -- questions. Ones on which we have been struggling for decades, and will continue to do so. Here is the video, followed by a bit of Matt Herper's Forbes piece:

. . . .The pills reverse the disease — although it is also true that they won’t work forever. It is hard not to think what an amazing thing drug companies like Merck, GlaxoSmithKline, and Bristol-Myers Squibb did by developing these medicines. It is also easy to understand why some activists think that the medicines should be made available as cheaply as possible to people in need. . . .

Indeed. What's your take? Take the poll at left.

No comments: