“Ethical pharmaceuticals” — what a concept!

This report in the Telugu Portal discusses how a new pharmaceutical company looks to drastically lower the cost of their drugs and stand up to Big Pharma:

Sunil Shaunak, professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College, London, and Steve Brocchini from the London School of Pharmacy are leading clinical trials in India for a drug for hepatitis C. The two academics have devised a way to invent new medicines and get them to market at a fraction of the cost charged by big drug companies. Their model is likely to enable millions in poor countries to be cured of infectious diseases and reduce the drugs bill of Britain’s National Health Service.

The Guardian reported Tuesday that Shaunak called their revolutionary new model “ethical pharmaceuticals”. Improvements devised to the molecular structure of an existing, expensive drug turned it technically into a new medicine, which was no longer under a 20-year patent to a multinational drug company and could be made and sold cheaply. “The process has the potential to undermine the monopoly of the big drug companies and bring cheaper drugs not only to poor countries but back to the UK,” the newspaper reported.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this started a new trend? It would certainly come as a breath of fresh air at a time when direct-to-consumer advertising is at an all-time high and drug companies are putting their R&D money into reproductions of drugs that we already have, rather than into products that would actually help people other than their shareholders.

I know, I know — these idealistic academics will probably get squashed by Big Pharma like everyone else. But I can dream, can’t I?

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