Monday, August 10, 2020

Profits over public health

On April 12, medical scientist, Jonas Salk, was hailed as a miracle worker when news of his discovery of a vaccine for the polio virus was made public. He underscored every humans right to health care by refusing to patent the vaccine. He had no desire to profit personally from the discovery, but wanted the vaccine shared as widely as possible. Dr. Salk strongly rejected patenting and profiteering when he declared, “Could you patent the sun?”, clearly recognizing that vaccines and other medicines should be accessible to all.

In stark contrast, Big Pharma too often reigns to the detriment of public health for the interest of profits leaving the public ill-prepared to face the public health crisis of COVID-19. The pharmaceutical industry rarely invests in prevention, for it has little motivation to  prepare for a public health crisis. Drugs produced and held in a reserve stockpile for a future epidemic does not contribute to share-holder value and the corporation's profit. Instead, cures are designed once a public health crisis strikes. The sicker we are the more profit they earn. Like all commerce, their business model their goal is to make money.  

Callous inhumanity is built-in and the common welfare of the  people is of no concern.  Overpricing excludes the vulnerable, the poor, the aged, the disabled and the mentally ill, from access, and it is sound business practice since it maximizes profit. The current coronavirus crisis will potentially be a blockbuster for the industry in terms of sales and profits. The worse the pandemic becomes, the greater their returns,

The capitalist economic system has failed to serve people by allowing private and State corporations to sabotage, fragment and cripple our health, public health and other social services. Big Pharma turns everything into an object for sale and big profit. To fix the problem medicines should not be profit producing goods for a tiny group but stay in the public domain, benefiting mankind.

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