Place: Medialab-Prado. Plaza de las Letras, C/ Alameda, 15 · Madrid
Miguel Jara, a journalist and author of books such as Traficantes de salud: Cómo nos venden medicamentos peligrosos y juegan con la enfermedad (Icaria, 2007) engages the problem of patents and the pharmaceutical industry market in this second session of The Commons or New Approaches to the Public Domain seminar.
-The case of the drug Trovan, a film on inconstant gardeners. The pharmaceutical industry’s interest in conducting clinical trials in poor countries.
-Abusive drug prices in Argentina: products with a 37,500% mark-up.
About patented drugs:
-What do private companies investigate? First and second class patients. Diseases invented for the middle class and medicines shortages for the poor.
-Problems for the middle classes in rich and poor countries: Obsession with patenting and "collateral damages" of patented drugs. Death: USA: 305,000 deaths each year; Germany 57,000. Spain 15,000-30,000? Cases: Agreal, menopause, addiction and incitement to suicide, the Vioxx tsunami and the return of thalidomide.
-Problems for the lower classes of rich or poor countries: Displacement of generics: Novartis-India, Merck-Brazil, Abbott-Thailand.
-Increased public health spending. The benefits of generics and the rationalisation of consumption as opposed to pharmacological consumerism.
-Who’s behind the patenting system? The pharmaceutical lobby controls the US government.
-Are patents a research incentive. Pharmaceuticals spend more on advertising than research. Most research is public. The prices of distributing new drugs are inflated. Cases of Argentina and Colombia.
How laboratories make money:
-Molecular control and pressure on scientists.
-Scientific journals and medical writers at their service.
-Infiltration in the public health administration. Case of the Spanish Drug and Health Product Agency (AEMPS) and the Food and Drug Administration.
-Patient associations and the media.
-Physicians bought by drug salespeople.
-Spies in the pharmacy: pharmaceutical marketing, Internet "sweeping" and RFID technology (radiofrequencies).