Killing Bill C-393 would be a facepalm of the highest possible order.

Discuss

71 Responses to “Killing Bill C-393 would be a facepalm of the highest possible order.”

  1. littlebrother says:

    “It’s obvious that wealth should be a factor determining whether someone lives or dies from something like HIV/AIDS. ”

    Yes yes, and you have your children pay for hugs, and they work in your basement for dinner. I am sure you pay the minimum wage, and fire the children that under-preform.

    I am more than a little tired of “in a free market” – so akin to Fukushima’s nuclear reactor builders saying “it works on paper”

    Your philosophy is ugly. And the world’s graveyards are filled with the people who trusted in becoming rich “eventually” and “on paper” when reality moulded itself to your “plan.” To say nothing of the soldiers and innocents who died in its enforcement.

  2. the_headless_rabbit says:

    The Conservatives make me embarrassed to be Canadian.

    The worst part of all is how much support the Cons has right now.

  3. taj says:

    taj1f, the taj-of-great-fortitude, could you give me the cole’s notes of what 393 is about?

    • george57l says:

      @taj
      If you are interested then you’ll RTFA!
      Of you are not, please move along and stop making the place look untidy.
      —–
      “Access to life-saving medicines is not a luxury, but a human right.”
      No it is not. It may be a civic right bestowed by the act of paying your taxes or other social fund contributions according to how your country works. But it is not a basic human right.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        if it is not a human right, then it ought to be, and we should MAKE it such.

        Prior to their recognition as human rights, any one of them was subject to the the precise criticism which you have just made here.

        A weak criticism, and one easily remedied, where there exists the political will to do so.

        The concept that profits ought to be limited, or reasonable in size, is strongly resisted by those who enjoy…unreasonable profits.

        • george57l says:

          I was not saying it should not be (too little time to expand) but that it is not. If it should be, then someone/society needs to figure out how to organise it/pay for it. Otherwise it aint, and saying it is has no value.

          E.g.
          Freedom of speech costs nothing.

          Shelter? Well, ask the homeless if shelter is a basic human right in this day and age and how well society is doing at organising/paying for that. (Probably a bad example to pick – but hey, you get the idea)

          As for life-saving drugs – well the organisation is pretty dysfunctional right now. And let’s just extend a thought experiment. Is it a human right that your pharma company must conduct research into developing life-saving drugs for my condition? Is there a basic right to drug A, but the basic right to drug B (not yet invented) only exists when it is invented?

          As you say Canuck – it comes down to political will. Which = society. And all the evidence is that society does NOT consider it a basic human right. So maybe I am saying, after all, that things that have a real cost which society has clearly determined will not be paid in many circumstances, do not constitute basic human rights, by definition.

          And I do not see how if you try to abstract it and talk about a human right in the abstract (e.g. freedom of speech) you can include human rights that are specifically dependant on a certain model of commerce and scientific endeavour.

      • GP says:

        @george57l

        Well…

        From The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

        Article 25

        (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

        Note the words ‘medical care’ there. Of course, you could argue that ‘[the right to] access to life saving medicines and ‘the right to (…) medical care’ are not exactly the same thing. But I trust you realize that would be ludicrous.

        Then there’s the second paragraph to the same article: which gets relevant when you consider, for instance, AIDS-infected pregnant women, mothers or children:

        2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

        And it’s noteworthy to remember that these rights do not cease when the state or community fails to provide them. That is why these rights are Universal.

        • Ugly Canuck says:

          That document says something of interest to the protesters in Wisconsin too, does it not?

          Funny how the Americans are fighting tooth and nail against SOME human rights. But not others, eh?

          • GP says:

            Well, tough I am solidly on the side of the WI protestors, “the right to security (…)” is not really denied there, because of that last bit: “in circumstances beyond their control”.

            I mean, they still have the option to allocate part of their wages to insurance against these events. So they have still “control”. The question wether or not they should seek private or public insurance (so pay collectively through taxes or privately through premiums) is a democratic one.

    • Anonymous says:

      There’s an old law for allowing compulsory licenses to force a pharma-corp to let their life-saving drug be made and sold at prices that make them viable for use in Third World countries where they pretty much can’t and don’t sell them anyway, and the license is limited to that country. The current bill is so poorly written, it’s near enough impossible to use, C-393 fixes that. C-393 also includes a sunset clause, so if the sky starts falling because of it, it can be allowed to die without anyone having to lift a finger. Simples.

  4. turthalion says:

    I sent off the suggested email today to all the senators mentioned here and I got a reply almost right away this morning from Jim Cowan, the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, detailing the efforts the senators would make to get this ball passed.

    Nice to see…. though Mr Cowan was not hopeful that they could get this bill passed, given the Conservatives in the Senate.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Just wondering how C393 is in line with Harper’s G8 declaration that maternal and child health should be a global priority? Considering the effects of HIV/AIDS are most closely felt by women and children in developing nations, this bill is completely contrary to what he claimed to support last year. Thought, that doesn’t come as a surprise anymore that he flipped on an issue to pander to multimillion dollar businesses.

  6. littlebrother says:

    And, no, I am not accusing you of dishonesty, I am accusing you of what I said: “making a display of holiness” (or moral superiority) over someone who disagrees (quite rightly, I believe) with your framing of the issue as one of “basic human rights.”

    If we are talking rights, the lives of children, philosophy and ethics, and not the “on paper” kind of dying, but the real bleeding out of the eyes and crying until dead kind of children. And since we are talking about morality, and right, and goodness and how our heroes of philiosophy and moral action, why would I not speak with the gut wrenching intensity of someone watching a child die for someone else’s pleasure?

    I am angered at this waste and cruelty, I am insistent on its end, I do hold those philosophies that seek to cloak this crime in “justification” with the deepest disregard.

    Why would it not sound as if the immorality of it disgusts me? To be meek before this crime is, is itself a crime. I am not meek, I am sick unto death of the perpetuation of this. If my recognition and defense of moral action sounds moralistic, or if I have cited an author who used spiritual reasoning sounds holier than you, it is the subject we are discussing. Is the morality of pharmaceutical patents in particular, or the idea of profit from pain in general, or even the system of state sanctioned enforcement of intellectual property itself, superior to, take precedence over, even one sick child, even one suffering mother. I cite every great authority to declare NO! And with the greatest of strength and assuredness, with the every ounce of my being, NO! An because I am a democrat, believing deeply in democracy, and specifically our Parliamentary system, I say because our Parliament, our house, has declared it so, we have a right to healthcare. I am, like all Canadians, my Parliament. That it is misbehaving so badly, doing so many cruel things, means I must be active to alter it, not disavow it. I am responsible for Harper, and his ugly packed Senate, and I must do all I can to throw both out of office, so as to move to be in compliance with our great nations morality.

    There is no difference in a democracy between the role of the state and the role of the people, (of the people, by the people, for the people) and what our representatives have declared is a right of the people, is a right of the people. Even if it drives me to anger to hear the idea debased and the conversation defrauded.

    Your bald declaration that you know what is a right, and what is not, and that others may not determine it, though democracy or personal action, is not accepted. Your offering up of a tome with grand title, is not a proof, it is a tome with grand title.

  7. Heisenberg says:

    Unfortunately, this is a positive right, and we’ve traditionally limited human rights to negative rights (don’t murder).

    This is not viable, partly because doctors can read this as “Instead of a service you provide in exchange for goods and services, you’re now required to provide care all the time, for nothing.”

    • littlebrother says:

      This is not viable, partly because doctors can read this as “Instead of a service you provide in exchange for goods and services, you’re now required to provide care all the time, for nothing.”

      Read the article again:

      Q: Wouldn’t these changes effect the pharmaceutical company’s bottom line, which in turn will effect R&D funding, and drive the home costs of medicine up?

      A: The language is pretty clear in that these are generics that can only be sold in certain markets. These markets happen to constitute a very small percentage of pharmaceutical revenues (we’re talking single digits here). Oh yeah, plus you get royalties from doing this anyway. Also, there’s nothing stopping you from making your own generic version, so that you can enter the market yourself. Indeed, all evidence would suggest a possible gain in bottom line.

      They are not selling the drug there, they get no money from that market. This Bill means that the market will get some money from that market, even if the “profit” is less per pill, it is money in the bank regardless, money that would not be there without Bill C-393. It increases total profit.

      I wonder sometimes if boingboing is on some list so people can attempt to refute the damn writing, who wouldn’t otherwise even visit.

      And even if it weren’t profitable, it is a paltry and reprehensible “philosophy” that overturns everything all the worlds great teachers have taught, in order to defend the right of the wealthy to abuse civilization.

      • Truthism says:

        Why? Should all visitors agree with everything the authors say?

        David is very dishonest and is misrepresenting what the bill requires. It’s much broader than giving drugs to Africans, and isn’t neutral or a pareto improvement or anything like that. Whether the reason for stopping the bill is good is debatable, but there is a reason.
        http://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2005/10/if_france_gets_its_way_38_mill.html

        • GP says:

          Okay I’ll debate it.

          First. Cause precedes consequence as I am sure you will agree . Yet the linked article would imply that Chirac’s FUTURE measures have ALREADY affected drug R&D and creation; that this is why we now do have Viagra etc, and not a cure for cancer or something of the like.

          Second: consider for a minute that even with the most stringent forms of patent protection, a private pharmaceutical company will always seek to develop drugs that provide it with the largest amounts of profits, and that these drugs might not necessarily be the ones that cure grave ailments of a few poor people, but more likely those that alleviate the minor discomforts of lots of relatively wealthy people. Which, it seems to me, is a better explanation as to why we do have Viagra and do not have a cure for malaria.

          Third: the patent is lifted only to make the drugs affordable to people that would otherwise NOT be able to buy the drugs at all. The patent and subsequent earnings stay in tact for other markets so the investment keeps secure. There is no loss of income for said pharmaceuticals. So again, the argument does not hold.

          And lastly I’ll add this. Your article proposes that we leave the patents in tact. That would CERTAINLY mean the death and suffering of millions. PERHAPS, lifting those restrictions might have an equal or worse effect. But the burden of proof, in my mind, lies with those ho would seek to maintain the patents.

          So prove it.

  8. littlebrother says:

    No it is not. It may be a civic right bestowed by the act of paying your taxes or other social fund contributions according to how your country works. But it is not a basic human right.

    Yes it is. I have no idea what philosophy you have been inculcated in, that prevents you seeing that, but perhaps you should recognize how truly bereft and callow it is, and study better minds. If you are a Christian or Buddhist, if you are anything besides a paltry Ayn Rand objectivist, you can see that any child lying starving has a right to food.

    • gehnaphore says:

      “Yes it is. I have no idea what philosophy you have been inculcated in, that prevents you seeing that, but perhaps you should recognize how truly bereft and callow it is, and study better minds. If you are a Christian or Buddhist, if you are anything besides a paltry Ayn Rand objectivist, you can see that any child lying starving has a right to food.”

      Whether access to health care or a proper diet is a “basic human right” or not is not really a moral or ethical issue. You can believe (as I do) that some degree of basic medical care and food assistance should be provided by a society to those who cannot look after themselves without muddling definitions and calling it a “basic human right.” Just because you think something is a moral imperative doesn’t mean it is a “right.”

      The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy classifies access to health care as a “social” or “welfare” right, and acknowledges that defining these as “rights” is quite controversial: “Social rights are often alleged to be statements of desirable goals but not really rights.” I allege thus, that a real “basic human right” cannot be granted to an individual by the state at the expense of others. Rather, it is something that can only be taken away. The state has a moral imperative to protect rights from being taken away, and (many would argue) to actively grant certain services. That does not make those services “rights.”

      Try not to be so sanctimonious. People are less likely to listen to you.

      • littlebrother says:

        “sanctimonious”

        “affecting piety or making a display of holiness”

        Which means only that you are accusing me of dishonesty, which is I suppose debatable, no one knows, I could be making my philosophical, ethical and social arguments while actually supporting the reduction of our society to the haves and the others, and maybe I am paying dues to one of the radical Malthusian Parties, but it seems unlikely, and I promise you, I am not.

        If you made a mistake, and are merely accusing me of wanting to feel superior for the simple ego pleasure of putting down others thoughts, I could be insulting without arguing actual points. Such as: Shut up dickhead, or “you suck.”

        But I am not. I am forcefully explaining and debunking points made, on philosophy, ethics, politics and outcome. I want changes in the framing of questions, changes in the way we think and act, changes in what we “accept” as “just the way things are” and changes in the outcomes of the laws we impose.

        The copyright laws et al. and all the other coercive, enforced with guns, laws that confer unwarranted unnecessary profits on a few, need complete reform, an overturning, before we are sane and human again.

        I could care less what Sanford and Sons say is a right, and what is a service. I say, Canadians say, and most societies in the world say, WE HAVE A RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE, and that is not diluted by distance, the colour of one’s skin, or their governments adherence to imposed trade laws.

        Until this entire regime is re-thunk, reformed and rebuilt, small holes punched in its wall of cruel denial of simple human care like Bill C-393, are necessary, just as getting irradiated is a required self sacrifice to protect the entire Japanese nation (and world) from the horrific outcome of a complete meltdown.

  9. Ugly Canuck says:

    Drop the emphasis on insurance company profit, and other profit, from health care, and a whole new world of health care possibilities opens up.

  10. Ugly Canuck says:

    I knew that you intended no insult, and so felt no offense; and in truth my opinions are such, that i have found my views treated with both contempt and odium by both “left/liberals” and “right/conservatives”: although they never agree on precisely which of my opinions should be so treated.

    • littlebrother says:

      I find nothing in what you have written on this page to either odious or worthy of contempt.

      I took a crack at what I thought was an undeserved protection of the title conservative, when you were merely pointing out the Harperites are merely cloaked in a veneer of conservatism, to hide their corrupt kleptocratic weapons systems loving, bank enriching social darwinism.

      I should have thought longer, and dug deeper in to what I could assume from your admirable points.

      I was disagreeing with someone who like me, wants less Harperism, and tried to delineate why the cloak was no longer capable of hiding such shame, but is now a badge of dishonour.

      Again, fine arguments, well spoken, please continue everywhere.

  11. littlebrother says:

    it comes down to political will. Which = society. And all the evidence is that society does NOT consider it a basic human right. So maybe I am saying, after all, that things that have a real cost which society has clearly determined will not be paid in many circumstances, do not constitute basic human rights, by definition.

    What the f___ (sorry to everyone) does it mean that it was passed handily by OUR HOUSE, a Parliamentary democracy decides what is a right, and OUR HOUSE voted that it was, just as we have voted that HealthCare is right, without regard to cost, with NO impediment to any person unable to pay for life saving, life improving healthcare imposed?

    That is what we have decided. AN that is what we have decided twice with regard to saving HIV/AIDS suffers everywhere. This article isn’t arguing about OUR CHOICE, the choice we have made twice, it is about not allowing the undemocratic Senate to impose a technical impossibility to prevent our decision from becoming enacted.

  12. Ugly Canuck says:

    What you say is true: but the goal is clear. Getting there is the problem.

    And the fact is, there must be some decisions as to where what money is available should do the most good, for the most people….sometimes that means that one who could live if millions were spent in their treatment, must instead do without that treatment – for the sake of the hundreds, or thousands, who would otherwise, as a result of that spend on one person, have had some reduction in the health care services which they receive.

    Scarcity may be a thing of the past when it comes to information: but when it comes to nursing and physician care of patients, and the manufacture and provision of medicine, scarcity of resources yet does operate to limit us, to constrain what we can do.

    Thus your point does have validity: as one person’s right would effect the rights of others.

    Any such right, in other words, would be subject to limits – as every other right is – and that determination of its limits would as ever, be difficult.

    But we have made a start,and in the right direction.

    The feeling that a situation is unjust is the essential first step to its remediation.

  13. littlebrother says:

    1. Unfortunately, a good proportion of drugs sent off for “humanitarian purposes” make their way back to the North American market. This has been widely reported. It’s sad, but true and the bill will not change this.

    There is nothing here but fabrication. This is a bald fabrication. It is little more than don’t pay poor people, there is crime in poor areas.

    2. Because of this, the bill would ultimately de-incentive innovative drug companies researching the medicines of tomorrow. If you (or your granny) have ever taken (or plan to take) a pill, you might want to give this some thought.

    I will kill you if you help the children. My head spins with how slimey this person’s soul was before it was collected by Cthulhu.

    3. You reference “big pharma” semantics, but you are basically suggesting that the Canadian government get into bed with the likes of Apotex, who do no original research of their own (and you might want to read about their business practices, too). Make no mistake that you are also on the side of big pharma… just the other side.

    “. . . you are also on the side of big pharma.” You see we don’t care, we are on the side of childen and mothers and the suffering, and we just don’t care.
    we have chosen to end the suffering of children, and will de-incentive (ized?) pharma corps to cry and weep and sell off a Rolex(a real one!), we just don’t care.

    4. Ironically, the very drugs you are talking about would not have come into being without the incentive provided by the patent system.

    Except when it doesn’t:

    A progesterone hormone injection, used to prevent preterm labor, used to be $10 a shot. Now that the FDA has assigned an exclusive right to create the easily-made formula to one company, KV Pharmaceuticals, the price has risen to $1500. Almost all of it is pure profit, and KV Pharma did not develop the drug or pay for its trials: the taxpayer did, via the National Institute for Health. It is said to be the only drug proven to prevent pre-term birth, and an expert cited by ABC News suggests that the profession was snookered into supporting the assignment as a quality standardization measure.

    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/14/10-drug-becomes-1500.html

    And yes you are conservative, but we all agree with you this much, being a conservative does mean your points are twisted by greed and the resultant political pathologies.

    • daen says:

      OK, try to switch the rhetoric off for just a moment, and propose a viable alternative.

      Let’s consider a hypothetical situation:

      Imagine you were going to develop a drug to treat malaria, for example.
      How would you raise the money to get started, and attract capable biologists and chemists?
      Would you in-license or develop it in house?
      How long do you think it would take you to do so and how much would it cost?
      How would you ensure that your drug didn’t infringe on other patents, and what would you do if it did?
      Having found a viable candidate, would you grant free licenses to the patent?
      Would you undertake the cost of clinical trials on your own, or split the costs with other manufacturers?
      How would you market and distribute it?
      How would you handle adverse events?
      At what point would you decide that the drug didn’t work or was too dangerous?
      Would you pull a potentially useful drug that can save hundreds of thousands of lives if one child died?
      10?
      100?
      1000?
      What number is too large?
      How do you propose sustaining the company?

      I’m serious about these questions, because if you can answer them convincingly, you should go into drug discovery for orphan diseases using a non-capitalistic model.

  14. littlebrother says:

    One: it is an enabling Bill that makes sure that the intent of the 2004 Bill to provide HIV/AIDS medicines at cost to markets unable to afford the “profit” demands of our corporate controlled pharmaceutical regime, so that people dying, and people in denager of contacting the disease do not die from and do not transmit this preventable curable/treatable disease.

    “Some people” might think we should limit who can live and who can die, in order to merely protect the “idea” of coercive profit taking, but I assure you, the great majority see the ugly error in that philosophy.

    The majority of Parliament in Canada, our house, have determined that this is the solution to providing the drugs, at cost, to those that need them, at no cost, and even at a profit, so that millions may live who would otherwise suffer and die. The point being made isn’t “Is this Bill written correctly” it is, should we pressure the Senate not to prevent the Bill from becoming law, or should we dither, and fail to press on.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      I see that as soon as the Conservatives stacked that appointed Senate with their fund-raisers and campaign managers, they no longer question its use of its unelected veto power over the elected House.

      Provided, of course, that the Senate keeps to only vetoing the Bills which the minority Conservatives opposed, during its passage through the elected House.

      • littlebrother says:

        We must remove the conservatives from office. We must be smart enough, dedicated enough, Canadian enough to not just make an opinion on election day, but change the government.

        Canada deserves, the world deserves, a government that represents the Majority of Canadians, not this Bank and weapons loving cruelty.

        • Ugly Canuck says:

          They are not conservatives, that’s simply a lie.

          They are the “Reform Party”, the government of the “National Citizen’s Coalition”, the “Reagan revolution”‘s imitators and acolytes in Canada in the early 1980s, which operated as a propaganda outfit – oops, i mean “public advocacy” outfit -
          which has used the same media techniques of persuasion, to attempt to gain power and rule by influencing Canadian’s emotions (primarily fear and hatred), in order to institute unreasonable and hurtful – but very profitable, to some private operators – public policies.

          Bah, and fie on them and all their works!

          • littlebrother says:

            Yes, they are conservatives, just as the government in Wisconsin is conservative, and all the other conservatives who pander to banks, attack workers, ignore and beset the poor, all to protect the idea of coercive profit.

            The old two parities joined, the Conservative party folded itself into this new conservative party, and in fact is called The Conservative Party of Canada.

            I suppose for some reason you hold different opinions about good policy than this government, but want to call yourself, or want others to be allowed to call themselves conservative without being forced to accept the derision due to the holders of this political “excuse” for pandering to banks and weapon makers, but like Lady MacBeth, the blood will not wash off.

            Your rejection of the worldwide conservative movement which is consolidating, or attempting to consolidate the power of corporations and the wealthy permantly, is understandable but it will require much more thinking and reflection. The conservative movement has become the social movement of corporate power over democracy, if you do not support that, merely defining what conservative means in ones head, while ignoring all its actions, is untenable. It requires a larger, more radical rethink of priorities and philosophy than that.

          • genre slur says:

            They call themselves conservative. However their spending behaviour indicates that REALITY is not equal to the SEMANTIC MODEL.

          • Ugly Canuck says:

            Yes indeed.

            Some politicians are like the Martians in Tim Burton’s “Mara Attacks!”: it is best – no, make that imperative – to look at what they are doing, and NOT listen to what they are saying.

          • Ugly Canuck says:

            You mistake me, sir, and were we of personal acquaintance, you would not make such an error.

            My point was and is that the people who make up our current government use propaganda techniques, suited to our popular media, in order to gain people’s emotional support for policies which, were such to be considered in the light of truthful and accurate information (which they routinely have refused to provide to the public) would be clearly seen to be inimical to the interests of the public as a whole.

            Those propaganda techniques don’t include only false or misleading or erroneous statements of fact, or of the future effects of their policies, but extends to the active suppression of information, which it is their duty to release to the public, and which the public has an unquestionable right to know, before their proposals are put into law: for instance, the best estimates of the full costs of the prisons, or of fighter jets, have been buried, or more commonly, denied release by this Government.

            They seek to gain our consent to their governance by the calculated manipulation of their presented image in our media of communication: and not, as they should, by the presentation of the results, or the costs, of their policies.

            They would rather govern as a result of our ignorance and pliability, than of our informed consent.

            And that, I find to be morally objectionable. Untrustworthy.

          • Ugly Canuck says:

            A touch OT, but as an example of that whereof I speak, you need not look further than today’s headline:

            http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/mps-weigh-contempt-charges-against-harper-government/article1944032/?from=sec561

          • littlebrother says:

            I wondered if it were your own view point, when you said they were not conservative, and so I added “or want others to be allowed to call themselves conservative” – you were saying that they had no philosophy, or were unwilling to share their philosophy, as it is obviously bankrupt, and their political identification was a mere cloak to fool the voters so as continue their unsupportable policies.

            I more than accept that, I agree. But conservative now refers to those that impose their Malthusian policies, their followers, hangers on and unwitting or uncaring allies. It is now, has become can no longer be separated from that movement, so clearly shown in Republicans down south, and in Wisconsin, where their hubris and aching ambition has proved to be so unifying to opposing forces.

            I meant no slur, sir, and if too vociferous, I hope you know it was the idea, not the person I tried to attack.

            Keep up the fine arguing.

  15. joeposts says:

    ugh.. Tories. I’m sure they’ll find a way out of this and instead spend a bunch of our money on useless jails, cold-war fighter jets, or perhaps just some magic beans. Spending money to actually help people simply runs counter to their ideology. From a Conservative perspective, wasting money on useless ventures is a major victory.

    It looks like their promise to abolish the unelected senate was abandoned the moment Harper appointed a bunch of assholes more than willing to crush the bills he doesn’t like. Liars and thieves, all of them.

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      Yeah, and the guys they appointed to the Senate apparently broke the laws during the last election, too, and are now fighting those charges in the Courts.

      Won’t stop those appointees to Senatorial power from voting down Legislation passed by our elected politicians, though.

  16. daen says:

    In an ideal and compassionate world devoid of financial restrictions, drug discovery would be undertaken entirely for free and with the aim of targetting diseases which caused the most suffering in the largest group of people – schistosomiasis, leishmaniasis, elephantiasis, sleeping sickness, tuberculosis, leprosy, HIV/AIDS, whooping cough, malaria, measles, mumps, polio and so on and so on.

    In the real world, it doesn’t happen this way. Private drug companies based in the West target diseases of the West, where they know their revenues will be highest, and generally neglect the diseases of the developing nations.

    One could argue that in order to improve this imbalance, government should intervene. To some extent, this is true – universities research treatments for ‘orphan diseases’ and tax breaks encourage drug companies to develop and market these treatments, often through a public/private partnership or straight license or other technology transfer.

    However, to develop drugs equitably regardless of the end revenue entails removing the profit motive entirely. Only governments can seriously be expected to undertake such a venture, and the wisdom of sinking hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars into government-run speculative drug discovery programs is debatable. I can certainly imagine the howls of protest should tax dollars be proposed for this – it’s hard enough for the NIH to get its budget approved, apparently.

    So this is, currently, the purpose of the patent system – to encourage inventors to engage in risky research in return for exclusivity of control over their inventions for a given period.

    But when talking about inventions of broad human benefit, perhaps there ought to be a tiered system – perhaps the government, instead of undertaking its own drug discovery programs, ought to reward companies prepared to forego the full patent protection period by paying an up-front fee for early termination of the patent and relaxed licensing of the invention …?

  17. Amphigorey says:

    littlebrother – yes, that’s the right reference.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m very sensitive to this issue, and the “cheap drugs for all” argument is a very easy one sell. However, you seem to be overlooking or at least glossing over a few important points:

    1. Unfortunately, a good proportion of drugs sent off for “humanitarian purposes” make their way back to the North American market. This has been widely reported. It’s sad, but true and the bill will not change this.

    2. Because of this, the bill would ultimately de-incentive innovative drug companies researching the medicines of tomorrow. If you (or your granny) have ever taken (or plan to take) a pill, you might want to give this some thought.

    3. You reference “big pharma” semantics, but you are basically suggesting that the Canadian government get into bed with the likes of Apotex, who do no original research of their own (and you might want to read about their business practices, too). Make no mistake that you are also on the side of big pharma… just the other side.

    4. Ironically, the very drugs you are talking about would not have come into being without the incentive provided by the patent system.

    Your understanding of patents is quite curious, particularly the description of them as “a service provided by government to protect an inventor, such that the inventor has an element of control over how their innovation/product gets used”.

    The Supreme Court has described patents as a bargain struck between an inventor and the public. In turn for telling the public about a new invention (rather than keeping it a secret), a patentee receives, as a reward, a *limited* grant of exclusive monopoly. While a Canadian patent term runs 20 years from the filing date, it is not atypical for a patent to grant with only a few years left in its term due to immense backlogs in the system. Innovators have, in effect, a very very small window of exclusivity during which they can recoup the vast costs of research, development, and meeting regulatory standards. It is unrealistic to think that companies will do research and bring new products to market in Canada if there reduced commerical incentive to do so.

    In summary, I would completely support this bill if it were possible to guarantee that the drugs would get to the people who really need them. Unfortunately, it appears to be a rather flawed band-aid solution that will only serve to make us, in the West, feel better (and not accomplish much else).

    (For the record, I do not vote conservative!)

  19. demidan says:

    As the only poster here who’s life was saved by the Ryan White laws in America: life saving meds are basic human rights! No ifs ands or buts, you provide to those who can not afford the meds, you provide the information to those who are illness free, and you provide condoms/dams/clean needles to those who are in danger. If not seeing as that only 1 in 3 get tested the disease spreads as it is doing now among African American teen populations.

    So it’s simple:

    Teach
    Prevent
    Treat

    Or it might me you who is next.

    (BTW I am a super small minority; white, educated, straight, and not a intravenous drug user, so don’t say it can’t happen to you.)

  20. Anonymous says:

    if I were to ask you whether you thought a person’s income should determine whether they live or die from something like HIV/AIDS, then I think you would see that the answer is nothing but obvious.

    The completely obvious answer, to me, is that you’ve used the word should where the word does would be more appropriate.

    Access to resources will always give benefits. You can’t change that. You’re barking up the wrong tree; why not try to make sure everyone has a good job that pays well, instead of trying to magic away fundamental realities of nature?

    Everyone deserves an opportunity to make something of themselves, that means everyone deserves the best job they can handle. There’s lots of work to be done, after all – we need to get rid of nuclear and fossil fuel power generation, for starters, so let’s give people some goddamn jobs. If they aren’t qualified to dig ditches or trade iron futures let them stuff envelopes or pick garlic mustard. If they aren’t educated to their capacity, send them to school. There is work that needs doing all around us; let’s fund it, instead of just sending all our tax dollars to the banksters. Overturn the political racketeering that prevents fair pricing for medicines, and let everyone have enough income to make arguments over access to medicine moot.

  21. Amphigorey says:

    I’m pretty sure that wingedearth #38 is a Poe.

    • littlebrother says:

      It took me a while to find it, but is this the reference?

      Poe’s Law is an axiom suggesting that it’s difficult to distinguish between parodies of religious fundamentalism (or, more generally, parodies of any crackpot or extremist belief) and genuine proponents of religious fundamentalism, since they both seem equally insane. Conversely, real fundamentalism can easily be mistaken for a parody of fundamentalism. For example, some conservatives consider noted homophobe Fred Phelps to be so over-the-top that they argue he’s a “deep cover liberal” trying to discredit more mainstream homophobes.

      Is it? I find it difficult to suggest and highlight the differences between that madness, and the madness of the objectivist right who say “just wait, eventually the invisible hand of the market” will comfort and enrich (the survivors of the invisible hands interference).

      Good catch, the writer couldn’t possibly be that crazy.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Anybody have a link to the status of this?

  23. tarrz111 says:

    I believe there are no countries that would take a stand on the morals of this and many other issues that look like a human right and are now luxuries for many people around the world. The countries that do provide for their citizens know that they can not stand up against the big economic powers of developed countries and would be chastised in some form or another if they do. The lower classes of the world will always be struggling for basic human rights. Here in America the little pockets of fighting over this issue and that one are always going to keep us distracted enough to keep nothing from happening. The progress that does happen is usually not nationally and public policy does not play a role in what people really want. We are giving a little ground but never enough change to have any dramatic effects, and most of the time it is not in the best interests of anyone except some corporation(s). Good luck on this issue. I will send the emails to the appropriate people.

  24. littlebrother says:

    “pareto improvement” blah.

    Once again, positing profit over the delivery of healthcare to the sick. If it means ending copyright and trademark laws to provide treatemnt to the sick then thats what it takes. I could care less.

    And, before one is tempted to counter, “but but then the pharmaceutical companies won’t research good cures” one must remember that the great majority of research ios done at Universities and governement research houses anyway.

    Let us remember this hot, recent story of ugly coercive greed:

    A progesterone hormone injection, used to prevent preterm labor, used to be $10 a shot. Now that the FDA has assigned an exclusive right to create the easily-made formula to one company, KV Pharmaceuticals, the price has risen to $1500. Almost all of it is pure profit, and KV Pharma did not develop the drug or pay for its trials: the taxpayer did, via the National Institute for Health. It is said to be the only drug proven to prevent pre-term birth, and an expert cited by ABC News suggests that the profession was snookered into supporting the assignment as a quality standardization measure.
    http://www.boingboing.net/2011/03/14/10-drug-becomes-1500.html

    I say arrest them. Expose them, expose all their actions. I am tired of it. And I think it would be wildly supported by a “So say we all” in any crowded room that did not include a local majority of the minority modern conservative Malthusian social activists.

    I could care less if its neutral, although it is, paying for the cost is completed, and companies are lining up to provide the service at a smaller profit, and the markets where the treatment is being delivered do not contribute a cent to the drug companies now, and do under this regime.

    There is no argument worth hearing here, merely the repetition of “but they could be even more rich if we ignore the right to care for each other” and that argument is described in Christian texts as Satanic, and worse in other religions.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Once again, positing profit over the delivery of healthcare to the sick. If it means ending copyright and trademark laws to provide treatemnt to the sick then thats what it takes. I could care less.

      And, before one is tempted to counter, “but but then the pharmaceutical companies won’t research good cures” one must remember that the great majority of research ios done at Universities and governement research houses anyway.”

      First let me say that I definitely support the manufacturing of generic HIV/AIDS drugs for markets (such as in Africa) that can’t afford the normal price. Also, the inflated price of the hormone injection shot is just plain wrong. Finally, the state of malarial drug research is a classic example of a market failure.

      However, you suggested ending copyright and trademark protections (I think you mean patent?) because the great majority of research is done at University/government facilities. I am afraid that you are mistaken. While a large body of basic research is done in these settings, and is a critical component of drug research, you would be shocked at the amount of money and hours of people’s lives spent translating basic research into fully developed, useful medicine.

      Most of this goes completely unseen, which leads most people to have some sort of hazy view of science magically springing from the lab bench to the hospital shelf, but that is simply not the case. There are a lot of things wrong with our current system of medicine and drug invention, but complete removal of patent protection would make things so much worse.

      • littlebrother says:

        I did not suggest it as a solution my friend, merely that its loss would not bother me, nor would I mourne. Nor did I say that they did no research.

        I said if they refused to do research, other methods could be found. And as Universities and HIH already do research, expansion would be simple.

  25. Anonymous says:

    We wrote a short summary about Bill C-393 here. It’s 500 words, and serves as a nice primer.
    http://www.healthtwine.org/uncategorized/2011/03/17/what-is-bill-c-393/

  26. rmstallman says:

    The supposed purpose of patents is to encourage inventors to develop
    and publish useful techniques, but arguably the patent system today
    does not produce that effect very much. Pharma companies mostly
    invest in drugs that treat chronic discomfort, and most life-saving
    drugs come from government-funded research.

    • daen says:

      Pharma companies mostly invest in drugs that treat chronic discomfort, and most life-saving drugs come from government-funded research.

      They also invest heavily in drugs targeting life-threatening diseases of the aging West, not just ones that treat “chronic discomfort”, which category includes anti-neoplastics, anti-hypertensives/anti-coagulants/statin inhibitors etc (the top-selling drug in the world being, of course, Lipitor) and anti-infectives.

      The list of the top ten most important drugs/drug categories (on WebMD) includes a number of life-savers (penicillin, arsphenamine, insulin, digoxin/furosemide) but the rest are palliative, analgesic or anaesthetic (morphine, aspirin, ether) or give control over behaviour or biology (haldol/thorazine, oral contraceptives).

      The separation of any of these into “privately” or “publicly” developed categories is very unclear.

      Take the history of aspirin, for example. Briefly, willow-bark tea was for thousands of years known to have analgesic properties, which turned out to be due to salicylic acid, which pharmacists prescribed freely in the 19th century, although its side-effects led Gerhardt to develop acetylsalicylic acid in 1853, which was then developed and commercialized as aspirin by Bayer in 1899.

      From folk remedy, to academia, to commerce, only at the end of which we have “aspirin”. And similarly complex histories apply to many (or perhaps most) other drugs.

  27. taj says:

    “Let me backtrack a bit, and provide a little context”
    TLDMITC (too long – did not make it to context)

    Sorry, but what is Bill393? A bit quicker to the point please, for the short-of-attention.

    • littlebrother says:

      Sorry, but what is Bill393? A bit quicker to the point please, for the short-of-attention.

      How is it possible to note understand this short article, everything is explained. It isn’t 2000 words. Go back, read the article.

      • SamSam says:

        How is it possible to note understand this short article, everything is explained. It isn’t 2000 words. Go back, read the article.

        To be fair, I don’t think it ever was explained clearly what C-393 actually is, in this article.

        The closest we get to it is

        Which (finally) brings us to “Bill C-393.” This bill is basically “the edit.” Its sole purpose is to address the things that made the previous bill so ineffective, and at its heart it allows a more streamline and efficient way to issue these compulsory licenses so that production of these generics is more feasible.

        But that’s not actually a description of what it is.

        Perhaps I’m as bad at comprehending as Taj, but while I certainly understand the gist of what’s being described, I think this article assumes that one already knows what C-393 is.

      • invictus says:

        It isn’t 2000 words.

        No; it’s a mere 1951 of them.

        • littlebrother says:

          Yes, those 49 words would be a huge deficit to a poor reader. I meant it wasn’t seven pages, or a book, but a mere two thousand words (not even).

          I stand shamed, with eyes cast aside, my bald deception laid bare.

          (There is no malice in these words, it went for a walk, only humour and self reproach)

          • invictus says:

            You either misunderstand my comment or substitute your own meaning for mine.

            You stated that the original post was not 2000 words, and thus not sufficiently onerously long to be read by taj. I was pointing out that the OP was actually quite close to 2000 words and thus very close to your own standard for “too long to be read by taj.”

          • genre slur says:

            :)

          • littlebrother says:

            I did apologize for that typo, above, saying it was meant to be more like “not even 2000 words” as opposed to lying and saying “it isn’t anything like 2000 words”, but again, I am not disagreeing with the potential for misunderstanding in my wording.

            And again, I am pretending to be kicking little rocks with my feet as I speak, my awkwardness is obvious, I am sorry.

            I never said however that taj would have any difficulty reading, in fact, the opposite was my intention, that it would take less time to read, than to post, wait for it to be published by moderation, and then hope for the original author or another reader to read it and report back, its not even* 2000 words.

            *the missing much needed word

    • David Ng says:

      Thanks for the comment about getting to Bill C-393 quicker. I’ll added to the piece a one line definition of Bill C-393 near the beginning, but it’s one of those things that is a little convoluted so reading the whole article is still best to get the full picture. Cheers, ~Dave

  28. Denise-Becker says:

    This is a complicated Bill to understand and you have made it very clear. Among the other items you might add is: if Chilean miners were trapped and the equipment was too expensive to afford, would the world deny it to them?
    Thank you for keeping this in the forefront and I hope the Canadian Senators realize this is an moral issue, not one based on their politics

  29. taj1f says:

    (No relation to taj the impatient, above)

    This was an inspiring piece. Thanks for taking the time to passionately express the facts, so your readers can glean a greater understanding of the situation.

    • littlebrother says:

      Bear in mind that question only applies if someone else is paying for the access.

      A human right applies period. I am resisting the urge to just swear. For example, the cost of freeing slaves has to be born, the cost of disallowing child labour is a real cost, but it does apply in any sense, the “cost” to Glaxo-Smith-Klein of not making their drug addictive by law, is a real cost, GSK would make much money if they were allowed to profit from every “customer” becoming addicted and a permanent “client.”

      The cost of reaching out a bored uncaring hand to save a child is real, you could be making a trades in derivatives, or foreclosing a mortgage, who would be so unethical as to demand that you spend your time pulling that child from the water?

  30. Anonymous says:

    “Worst still, there’s also the possibility that the Canadian government will choose to avoid voting on it altogether, all because of an impending election call.”

    Didn’t you hear: we’re not calling it the “Canadian government” anymore. It’s the “Harper government”.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2011/03/04/pol-harper-govt-brand.html

    (Also, thanks for that vote breakdown page. I didn’t know we had that. Now I can keep tabs on my MP.)

  31. Jewels Vern says:

    “Access to life-saving medicines is not a luxury, but a human right.
    ~Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network”

    Bear in mind that question only applies if someone else is paying for the access.

  32. joeposts says:

    Scrooge McDuck also said “Everybody hates me, and I hate everybody!”

    I have to say your solution is innovative. Universal Healthcare via Universal Wealth. Everybody gets rich, everybody gets drugs to treat AIDS. Finally the free market will work for The People, not the other way around!

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