[Ip-health] News: Wall Street Journal- No Either/Or on Health-Care Access

Terri - Louise Beswick Terri at haiweb.org
Thu Sep 9 02:35:38 PDT 2010

* LETTERS    * SEPTEMBER 8, 2010


No Either/Or on Health-Care Access


Alec van Gelder's op-ed relies on old arguments that have been
repeatedly discredited in his discussion of intellectual property,
access to medicines, and the viewpoint of medical organizations such as
Doctors Without Borders ("How to Worsen Africa's Health Crisis," Aug.


The debate has moved on: Pharmaceutical companies now acknowledge that
patents can be a barrier to both medical innovation and access to
medicines. Low-cost generic drugs have been fundamental to Doctors
Without Borders' ability to treat people living with HIV, and increased
patenting of newer HIV drugs threatens this progress.


Mr. van Gelder also posits a false choice between keeping the price of
medicines affordable and ensuring that the medicines actually reach
patients in the developing world. It is not a question of
either/or-indeed Doctors Without Borders strives both to secure greater
affordability of drugs and to develop innovative ways to ensure their
widest possible distribution, for example by decentralizing health
services and shifting tasks so that treatment is brought as close as
possible to the community.


Michelle Childs


Doctors Without Borders


New York



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