Jeremiah Norris, the author of a recent article published in your paper, works for the Hudson Institute, which is described in his bio as a think tank ("WHO: Long on agenda, but short on the facts," Nov. 4, page 8). This think tank is funded by pharmaceutical giants including Eli Lilly, Merck, Pfizer and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and its output regularly reflects the views of its corporate sponsors.
Norris' ill-conceived rant suggests it is health infrastructure, not drug prices, that matters in developing countries.
The reality, however, is that both factors are vital.
If AIDS drugs in developing countries still cost US$10,000 a year per person -- as they did at the beginning of the decade and before the introduction of effective generic drugs led to a 99 percent drop in prices -- mass treatment of people with AIDS in the developing world would be impossible.
Even with the massive infrastructure problems that beset developing countries, lowered prices for AIDS drugs has made it possible for more than 2 million people with AIDS to receive treatment -- and live rather than die.
Norris goes so far as to assert, against all evidence, that the system creates incentives for research and development into "neglected diseases," which predominantly affect people in developing countries. In this, his position is even more knee-jerk than the Hudson Institute's pharmaceutical industry funders. The brand-name industry is at least willing to concede the need for mechanisms to supplement patents.
Many public health advocates hope for something more far-reaching: that drug developers be generously compensated, but by mechanisms other than ultra-high drug prices.
Norris' fantastic claims notwithstanding, no one, least of all the WHO, says the agency should be placed in charge of global research and development.
But public health advocates do believe we can and must find ways to support R&D that do not result in the rationing of life-saving medicines in developing countries and the denial of life-saving treatment to people simply because they are poor.
Robert Weissman, WASHINGTON
Unless Hollywood movies like Greenland, Deep Impact, and Armageddon have predictive powers and a rogue space rock is heading our way, stopping Chinese Communist Party expansionism is likely to prove the single most challenging and dangerous problem of our lifetimes. How can the United States, Taiwan, and other liberal democracies prepare for and prevent attacks from China? How can Washington bolster Taipei’s confidence when it doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a real country and, so far, lacks the political will to make major adjustments to its ossified China policy and Taiwan policy? How can Taiwan make itself heard on the world stage when
The number of people emigrating from Hong Kong has been rapidly increasing, Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department data show, with the territory’s population dropping by 110,000 people from 2019 to this year. China’s imposition of a National Security Law has clearly triggered a massive population outflow. However, not only people but also foreign businesses are leaving Hong Kong. For example, Vanguard Group, the world’s second-largest asset management company, VF Corp and Sony Interactive Entertainment have moved their top regional management from Hong Kong to Singapore. LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury goods company, has also relocated staff
Oppression is painful, and not being able to express it increases the pain 10-fold. This level of pain is something that Uighurs, Tibetans and Mongolians understand all too well. A question often posed to Uighurs in the international arena is: “You say you are facing genocide, but why don’t we see corpses, like in Rwanda and in Bosnia?” If you were a Uighur, what would you say? What if you replied: “The source of the problem is your lack of vision. It’s an indication of your weakness and China’s strength, and it is not a matter of our sincerity.” Such a harsh response would
Double Ten Day, Oct. 10 every year, is an important day for Taiwan, as it marks the Republic of China’s (ROC) National Day. Major holidays are usually a time for celebration and commemorative activities, but among all the clamor and excitement, Double Ten reflects one essential fact: that Taiwan is still not a normalized society. As usual, there was a large parade in front of the Presidential Office Building, displaying to the world Taiwan’s social diversity and its soft and hard power, and President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) gave an address, relaying her message to the nation and to the world, while the