Â·Read WTO case study: âPatents, parallel importation and
compulsory licensing of HIV/AIDS drugs: the Experience of Kenya (bb)
Â·View film excerpt: “Fire and Blood” (bb)
Your management team is part of a
pharmaceutical company that has been subpoenaed by Congress to testify about
the companyâs decision to oppose the granting of compulsory licensing by the
World Trade Organization to Kenya with respect to HIV/AIDS drugs developed and
manufactured by the company. A compulsory license would permit a major Indian
pharmaceutical competitor the right to manufacture a drug patented by your
company and sell it at a fraction of the price in Kenya and possibly in other
countries as well.
Your company incurred hundreds of
millions of dollars in research and development costs to produce this
anti-viral drug and now it stands to lose a great deal of money in the
manufacture and sale if the patent exception and compulsory license is granted.
The shareholders will most certainly be angered over the year-end profit and
loss statement. The publicity has also cast your company in a negative public
image. It is expected that the companyâs advertising expenses will be
substantial to restore its family oriented reputation.
Your company was also on the brink of
developing a serum to cure Ebola but has had second thoughts given the problems
in Kenya. The newspaper coverage has already created a âno-winâ situation for
âEbola Cure Not Fully Developed
Because Big Pharma Not Interested In Saving Lives Of Poor People In Africa
As you may have heard, there’s been a
somewhat scary Ebola outbreak in western Africa. You may have also heard about
what some are calling a “secret miracle serum” that effectively stops
the impact of the virus for those who catch it. It’s an experimental drug that
hasn’t undergone human clinical trials yet, but it was apparently given to a
couple of Americans and appears to be working. There’s some indication that it
would take a couple months to produce a larger number of doses — though,
again, the lack of testing here means that people really aren’t sure if it will
work (or if there are serious side effects).
That said, as one article notes, a big
reason that there hasn’t been much testing on this is because treating poor
people in Africa just isn’t very profitable for the drug companies:
outbreaks affect the poorest communities on the planet. Although they do create
incredible upheaval, they are relatively rare events,â said Daniel Bausch, a
medical researcher in the US who works on Ebola and other infectious diseases.
if you look at the interest of pharmaceutical companies, there is not huge
enthusiasm to take an Ebola drug through phase one, two, and three of a trial
and make an Ebola vaccine that maybe a few tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands
of people will use.â
some may question whether or not Bausch’s statement is just from frustration
from where he is, Big Pharma execs more or less confirm his claims. Remember
that it was just a few months ago that we wrote about Bayer’s CEO claiming
directly that they make drugs for rich people who can afford it:
Chief Executive Officer MarijnDekkers called the compulsory license
did not develop this medicine for Indians,” Dekkers said Dec. 3. “We
developed it for western patients who can afford it.”
we noted at the time, it’s worth comparing that statement to what George Merck,
the former President of Merck said many decades ago concerning the pharma
try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profits.
The profits follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to
appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been.â
management team has been assigned the job of drafting a memorandum (5-7 pages)
identifying the problem; evaluating the different stakeholder viewpoints; and,
proposing a solution or alternative solutions to the problem. The memo will be
used as the basis for the companyâs testimony before Congress. You must also
address whether, in the future, the company will be willing to develop
expensive drugs that will be used primarily to cure people who cannot afford
them. Both Congress and the public will want to know your companyâs answer.
may wish to use the Hosmerproblem solving model (or any other model) in
analyzing the issues.
Below is the link to the WTO Case study