Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Profit over Patients?

I was reading this over at Techdirt today and I have concluded that this is truly a fucked up world we live in.

The long and short of it is that there is an illness known as Fabry's Disease that the pharmaceutical company Genzyme has developed a treatment for by the name of Fabrazyme.

Well Genzyme is unable to produce it quantities sufficient enough to meet the needs of the patients with this disease. But guess what?
Now, in a true free market, when supply was less than demand, a competitor would step up production, but (oh wait!) there can't be any competitor, because the patent means that Genzyme is currently the only one legally allowed to make the drug.
So that quite literally means that if another company were to start making this disease treating possible life saving drug (and apparently there is one confirmed death from this) they would be violating patent laws and would be staring down the barrel of a lawsuit.

This is what they call some ole bullshit. First of all you have people suffering from something that has a known treatment but they can't get it because the only company that can make it can't keep up. Second of all:
The actual research for Fabrazyme was actually done by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine financed by the National Institute of Health. Yes, you read that right. This drug was discovered with taxpayer money... but they were still able to get a patent and then license it to Genzyme.
So the research and development that brought this drug into being was paid for by taxpayers (that would be us) but its still patentable.

This is something that really needs to be a part of healthcare reform. Its goddamn ridiculous that people are suffering from a disease because the one company that can make the drug can't keep up with demand and no one else can make it for fear of getting sued. We have now gotten to the point where someone's "right to profit" has been given priority over the well being of actual people.