Trump Regime Wants Tuberculosis Drugs Kept Unaffordably High
TB is the world’s leading infectious disease killer – despite 53 million lives saved since 2000, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Its director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom said “actions and investments don’t match political rhetoric” to end TB epidemic conditions by 2030.
According to Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), marketplace medicine in nations without universal healthcare coverage fosters unaffordability.
Founder of modern medicine Dr. William Osler (1849 – 1919) long ago said doctors “are in the profession as a calling, not as a business.”
“Once you get down to a purely business level, your influence is gone, and the true light of your life is dimmed.”
In 2015, PNHP member Dr. Jessica Schorr Saxe said when “I started my practice, the patient and I were the only ones in the exam room.”
“Now, the room also contains an insurance company, an administrator and a coding specialist. Though invisible, they all have something to say about what the doctor does.”
When governments prioritize the “business of medicine” over vital care, profits triumph over human health.
According to Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Trump regime amendments to a forthcoming UN ministerial document on preventing and treating tuberculosis makes it not “actionable.”
It makes it harder for developing nations to develop low-cost generic drugs for treating TB.
A high-level UN meeting will be held on dealing with the disease during this September’s General Assembly session.
According to MSF’s Access Campaign advocacy advisor Leonardo Palumbo, amendments the Trump regime wants adopted makes the UN document “less actionable.”
A draft states that governments would recognize the “critical importance of affordable medicines, including generics, in scaling up access to affordable multi-drug-resistant and extensively drug-resistant TB treatment.”
The World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) permits governments to circumvent patent rights to protect public health – by offering low-cost generic drugs.
The EU, BRICS countries, and scores of others support this right. The Trump regime objects. It threatened to pull out of the UN agreement if it includes affirmed rights under TRIPS.
On Friday, MSF’s Access Campaign executive director Dr. Els Torreele praised South Africa for “speak(ing) up and demand(ing) stronger commitments to ensure that existing and future TB diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines reach the hands of the people who need them, leading to the reopening of negotiations on the UN High-Level Meeting on TB draft declaration,” adding:
“We ask countries negotiating the text to urgently provide political support for the inclusion of language on affordability and ‘de-linkage’ in the draft to reflect that investments in TB R&D must be separated from the expectation of financial returns through sales or high prices.”
The latest July 20 UN document version excludes mention of TRIPS.
According to the Mayo Clinic, treating TB is long and expensive, treatment lasting “at least six to nine months,” adding:
“The exact drugs and length of treatment depend on your age, overall health, possible drug resistance, the form of TB (latent or active) and the infection’s location in the body” – most often in lungs, other bodily organs vulnerable as well.
“We hope countries can take measures to ensure access to medicines for all, regardless of the (final) text of the declaration,” MSF’s Polumbo said.
Last spring, the Trump regime reneged on its pledge to lower drug prices, yielding to Big Pharma lobbyists – prioritizing profits over human health.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”