An upcoming report on India’s pharmaceutical industry in PharmTech (check out the October 2012 issue) discusses India’s strict patent policies and got me thinking about the rights of intellectual property versus patients’ rights to needed medicines. PharmTech’s Asia correspondent, Jane Wan, reports that India has set a high bar for patent approval that Western drug manufacturers are finding frustrating.
Archive for the 'Global Health' Category
This blog post was written by Ben Comer of Pharmaceutical Executive magazine.
Recognizing that traditional market forces – namely incentives related to intellectual property and a steady demand for products – have failed in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) asked a member state-nominated group to come up with ways to fund R&D and pay for the treatment of neglected diseases in the world’s poorest nations. The group’s proposals will be discussed at the sixty-fifth session of the World Health Assembly, beginning today in Geneva. Dr. Paul Herrling, a member of the group and head of the Novartis Institute for Tropical Diseases, sat down with PharmExec to explain the group’s process, conclusions and next steps. Read more »
The past month has seen a lot of news about the pharmaceutical industry’s positive influence in developing countries, and this progress looks set to continue thanks to initiatives being launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the European Commission (EC). Read more »
When should there be restrictions on the dissemination of basic research results? This question has arisen in the context of papers from independent laboratories submitted to the journals Science and Nature. Ron Fouchier and colleagues from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and a team headed by Yoshihiro Kawaoka of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, were both studying the H5N1 strain of flu virus, which causes avian flu. Avian flu can decimate flocks of poultry, but is rarely transmissible to humans. Nevertheless, because of the close proximity in which humans and poultry reside, there is concern that the virus could someday acquire the ability to infect mammals, and become the source of a pandemic. Both laboratories, working independently, identified mutations in H5N1 that allowed mammal-to-mammal transmission, using ferrets as the experimental model. Read more »
The malaria vaccine candidate RTS,S is looking even more promising, according to preliminary clinical trial results published in the New England Journal of Medicine . Early data from a large-scale Phase III trial conducted in seven African countries show that the vaccination regimen “can reduce the risk of clinical malaria by more than half in African children aged five to 17 months during the 12 months after vaccination.” Read more »
Concern about pharmaceuticals in our water supply has been in the public consciousness for a few years now. In 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency found traces of various drugs in fish caught in rivers that receive effluent from wastewater-treatment plants. The drugs were believed to come from doses that people had excreted or flushed down the toilet. In response, FDA updated its guidelines for disposing of drugs. New research, however, shows another potential source of drugs in our waterways. Read more »
As I wrote last week, the market for vaccines is expanding, and the newswires have stories about these products almost daily. Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, to name just two major players, are increasing investments in research and manufacturing capacity for these therapies. Kalorama Information predicts that sales of pediatric vaccines will grow even more quickly than sales for adult vaccines. Yet drugmakers have surely noticed that not all publicity about vaccines has been positive. Read more »
When natural disasters such as Hurricane Irene strike, obtaining food, water, and supplies tend to be at the top of at-risk residents’ minds. Having necessary medication—and enough of it—is also crucial. Even before Irene hit the US coast last week, PhRMA issued an alert to the public about documenting existing prescription medications with the RxResponse online medication card tool. Read more »
As recently as a few years ago, patients infected with HIV living in Africa were likely to be turned away from health clinics, with no help for treatment in sight. They were told to go home and plan their funerals. This was the story old on NPR news radio this week. But a few recent studies may presage a different ending to this sad story. Read more »
NIH Director Francis S. Collins gave the keynote speech at today’s Partnering for Global Health forum in Washington, DC, sponsored by BIO and BioVentures for Global Health. He spoke about why global health is a priority for the organization, and for the United States. For starters, Collins pointed out that recent scientific advances such as RNAi, small molecule screening, and genomics of pathogens, are allowing researchers and drug developers to fight infectious diseases. As a result, the pharma and healthcare sectors are able to look beyond the Big 3 diseases (HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria) and pay more attention to neglected diseases such as dengue, as well as chronic noncommunicable diseases (e.g., hypertension, diabetes, cancers), which are growing in both developed and developing nations. Another reason that global health advocates are setting higher goals–and achieving more—than they have in the past has a lot to do the enthusiasm and global perspective of the younger generation, noted Collins. “We can tap into that energy,” he said. Read more »