Drug Patents

What a Jeremy Hunt

David Elston's picture

When Mr Hunt was asked on Sky News if he would have to take some responsibility if a patient died because of industrial action he said
"The people who are responsible for what is happening are the people who chose to strike."
A point I'd like to draw attention to during the interview between Eamonn Holmes and Jeremy Hunt is where Eamonn made the statement in response to Mr Hunt drawing attention to needing to save money
"Is that the reality? Of all the ways you could save money in the NHS, of all the people you could club... if you were going after the pharmaceutical companies who were making massive profits over medicines and things people might say 'well done'..."
Naturally this is a stance my fellow Pirates and I have been taking for some years. There is more than enough capacity even with the botched budgets from the Tories to provide doctors with a fair wage if Jeremy Hunt would simply implement reform on how the UK treats drug patents.

CETA: TTIP's Little Brother. Why We Need To Fight It

Wendy Cockcroft's picture

CETA is the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between the EU and Canada. After years of being negotiated in secret, it's in the legal scrubbing phase and is headed for the EU Parliament where it will either be ratified and put into effect, or killed off like ACTA was on July 4th, 2012. That depends on us and how willing we are to overcome campaign fatigue and push back for another Pirate victory. Please note, we'll have to do it again for TTIP.

Buying Rights to Profit from Wrongs

David Elston's picture

The media has been publically shaming Martin Shkreli, a Big Pharma (Turing Pharmaceuticals.) CEO who hyped the HIV drug price by 5455% (from $13.50 to $750 per tablet) and is reported to have hyped a cystinura drug by almost 2000%. This is a perfect example of why Piracy, or sharing should not be considered a crime and why our clear policy on the NHS handling drug research is again shown to be a viable option to prevent drug prices from harming patients.


Image Source: http://www.techtimes.com/

The Pirate Party policy aims to abolish drug patents for three reasons:

Danfox Davies : The Genetic Grinch Scenario

(or How Gene Patent Trolls Stole Your Food)

This article is made of a few different parts. The first is a hypothetical dystopian scenario, but one very much rooted in our lives and perfectly possible trajectories of trends. Company names and product names mentioned are used only as EXAMPLES in that part of the article, and no bias or prediction of actual corporate actions or combinations is intended. The fact that I have to say this makes some of my point for me.

The second deals with the present in the USA, and places the reader in the position of an American plains arable farmer, finishing with a mild dipping of toes into conspiracy conjecture.

The third compares the direction of the GMO food industry with that of pharmaceutical firms and puts it against the backdrop of TTIP/TPP/TISA negotiation.

The fourth explains more reasons why banning GMOs will not help.

The fifth is to say you should decide what you CAN do, and makes suggestions.


Loz Kaye : Drug Prices are Harming Patients

Right across the continent health budgets are under pressure due to austerity programmes. In the UK, a leading group of cancer experts has spoken out saying huge drug prices charged by pharmaceutical companies are putting patients at risk. The message is stark. Over 100 physicians have warned reasonable prices are “a necessity to save the lives of patients who cannot afford them”.  

But in Jeremy Hunt's National Health Service there is no fight for reasonable prices. For example, there's no arguing that the costs of the latest Leukaemia drugs are eye watering. As reported in the Independent, Pfizer's Bosulif costs £76,000 a year. The price tags increase, Ariad's 90 grand a year for Iclusig, Teva's 100 thousand for Synribo. 

What price can you put on someone's life? Quite rightly, we would fight tooth and nail to give our loved ones any chance to survive. But the real question is why these drugs should cost that much at all. The pharmaceutical industry depends on the patent system, which grants years of monopoly for each new product.

t's supposed to be about making new molecules. But what the patent system has ended up doing in healthcare is carving out areas of illness real estate that no-one else can come on to. This keeps prices high. Each area is fiercely protected and marketed. Science writer Ben Goldacre has estimated that about a quarter of what we pay for pharmaceuticals goes on marketing. This system makes perverse incentives to suppress unfavourable trial results, to spend R and D money on drugs similar existing ones to extend patents and to stop successful cheaper drugs being available.

The argument has always been that companies are given exclusive power over life giving drugs because it  allows them to get back their investment.  

Cancer Drug Prices "Harming Patients"

Wednesday, 1 May, 2013 - 16:45

A group of 100 leading cancer specialists have spoken out about high prices for cancer drugs. Some chronic myeloid leukaemia treatments approved in the US, but not licensed in the UK range between £76,000 and £100,000 per patient per year. The cost of the drug Gilvec has in fact risen since all the original research costs were covered.

In the journal Blood the physicians say that the unsustainable expense "may be causing harm to patients" and are advocating that reasonable prices are "a necessity to save the lives of patients who cannot afford them".

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