In the past, penicillin, insulin, the polio and smallpox vaccines, and many other medicines were all developed for the common good, not with profit as the primary aim. Today, big pharma focus is not on the drugs we need, but on drugs that give the biggest return, usually requiring medication for life. That’s why there are no new antibiotics or vaccines – one course of treatment to cure the patient isn’t a blockbuster earner. Big pharma’s grip on the health service and governments suppresses medical breakthroughs, while at the same time patent law restricts competition and the painfully slow implementation of new techniques into healthcare systems stifles improvements. We are determined to bring back the ethical development of medicines patients need, at fair prices, without a patent cartel, and for the common good. Right now, the CoViD-19 crisis has exposed the worst aspects of our current system. NOW is the time to act. We already have the attention of Governments, healthcare professionals and eminent experts, to: Firstly, educate Governments, current and future medical professionals, and experts to understand that medicines developed for maximum benefit do then go on to generate revenue, while medicines developed for profit constitute a broken system. Secondly, Act to streamline discovery, licensing, trials, and implementation to bring better medicines to the patient in a timely manner. Thirdly, Lobby for change to patent law so that molecules cannot be patented willy-nilly then parked up to prevent others developing them and change UK patent disclosure rules for medicine which penalise UK inventions and help foreign inventions. Lastly, Promote a philosophy of better medicines that people actually need, through education, lobbying, providing expertise, and working with key decision-makers.
Hedley G. Rees is a pharmaceutical supply chain management consultant. He is the author of Supply Chain Management in the Drug Industry: Delivering Patient Value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics. He also wrote Find It File It Flog It: For the benefit of Big Pharma and other greedy people, and Science Seduced Pharma: Time for Engineers to Muscle In. He holds a degree in production engineering from the University of Wales and an executive MBA from the Cranfield University School of Management. After working as an industrial engineer, he held senior positions at Bayer UK, British Biotech, Vernalis, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, and OSI Pharmaceuticals before becoming the managing consultant at PharmaFlow Limited, a UK-based consultancy specializing in operations and supply chain management in the life science sector. A zealous advocate of regulatory modernization frameworks, he served as co-chair of the annual FDA/Xavier University-sponsored PharmaLink Conference in Cincinnati from 2010 to 2014. He regularly speaks at international conferences and hosts podcasts and webinars.
Interested in more?
If you would like to find out more about how medicines fit for the 21st century can become a reality, please follow the link and subscribe to receive regular newsletters on medicine modernisation (free of charge): https://www.pharmaflowltd.com/fomm-friend-of-medicines-modernisation/