New medicineWill they benefit poor people? [Archives:2003/649/Health]

July 10 2003

By Mohammed A. al-Shaqqa'e
For the Yemen Times

Day by day new medicines are discovered for healing different diseases and the industry of medicines tremendously developed and created new and unique means for giving the medicine and introducing new medicines in to the markets.
Moreover, it has been benefited from the genetic technology in preparing new medicines and with assistance of computers, new medicines and creative medical ways are developed.
World companies of medicines industry have been competing to introduce new drugs into world markets and looking for efficient substances and isolating them from the natural products.
American authority for food and medicines has agreed recently on a tremendous number of new drugs that will replace the old ones in the pharmacies. There is a long list online with new names of drugs that recently approved.
Yet, there is still a question, whether the third world poor people who represent most of the population of the world will benefit form these new medicines.
The answer of course is no. Because of globalization and the adopted international resolutions especially relating to the individual property and patents on inventions, the fate of medicine industry in the world becomes in the hands of the multi-national big companies that sell the new drugs in the third world countries with high prices that the poor citizens of those countries could not afford and could not buy. And the political regimes in these countries could not violate the international conventions that the big companies have imposed on the international community.
Mr. Car Labor in London Newsweek paper has pointed out that five prominent medicine companies currently control the medicine industry in the world. And the domination of these multi-national companies in the medicine-making field has extended to the international laws on protecting the intellectual property and the invention patents. So the implementation of protection of intellectual property means according to the rules of the world trade organization, implementation of the protection for each creativity and intellectuality process as well as the product, for at least 10 years.
The control of these multi-national companies represent big challenges to all the third world industry companies, added to that the companies of sexual medicines which still produce medicines that have lost the invention patent.
The multi-national companies have become the only power in the making-trading of medicines over the world without a competitor. They control every new medicine and sell it to anyone and with the price they decide without consideration to the third world poor people and their needs for such new medicines which are difficult to be obtained as their prices do not go with the low- income of the individual in the third world.
One of these companies' managers says that the company will not abandon its invention patent even if it is described of being greedy.
A representative of these companies also has declared that the multi-national companies do not work for poor people welfare and happiness as they are businessmen rather than clerics.
Yet, will we stand in this developing world hand-folded against greediness and hunger of these companies that only care about profits they gain from the poor people in the third world?
We have to depend on ourselves to develop our means in finding out new natural substances and invest them properly.
We have to also form international alley to disclose all these companies' inhuman practices for not allowing them exploit our weakness.
We have to develop our national industry and link it to scientific research centers to find out solutions for our medical problems.