August 24, 2006

We were many and then granny gave birth

Sir, there’s a Spanish saying that goes “we were many and then granny gave birth” and it applies so well when a shrinking planet in need of so much urgent collaboration, for instance to protect its environment, could certainly do without many divisive issues, such as the patents on medicine.

When (August 24) you say that “the moral and practical case for providing poor countries with access to essential medicines, at a price they can afford to pay” is compelling, no one can disagree, but when you state that “The Industry’s incentive to innovate would be weakened if widespread erosion of patent protection enabled generic drug makers to eat away its profits” I must confess having at least some doubts, such if whether this type of protection does not also breed its own inefficiencies.

Whatever, in this vital matter of patents on medicines, the world needs and deserves some clear answers and also transparent ways of arbitraging among any conflicting objectives. Is it really impossible to gather a group of independent professionals with no conflicts of interest in order to get some credible answers? Since the United States has been much accused of working for the big laboratories, as an outsourced mercenary branding the weapon of trade agreements, they have obviously the most to gain from any clarifications, especially since in terms of their brush with bad reputation, lately, granny seems also to have been very active.