Thursday, 9 September 2010

WSJ article under fire - access to drugs - what's the problem?

Afro-IP recently highlighted an opinion by Alec Van Gelder in the Wall Street Journal (see here) that has attracted the attention of the excellent SpicyIP blog in this piece here, entitled "WSJ mixing up issues in Access to Drugs debate", and by Doctors Without Borders here.

Whilst admitting that the opinion raises a number of valid points the Spicy IP author, Berkeley School of Law student Swaraj Paul Barooah, feels that the WSJ gets it wrong in a number of respects. He feels that lack of compulsory licensing is due to political pressure and raises an issue that access to drugs is hampered by a fact that, for example, some drugs do not exist at all. In short he appears to feel that the WSJ article is too simplistic in its approach to the "multi-faceted" problem. Michelle Childs, writing on behalf of DWB, feels that the debate has moved on highlighting DWB's efforts to provide innovative access. She feels that "[the opinion] posits a false choice between keeping the price of medicines affordable and ensuring that the medicines actually reach patients in the developing world".

The opinion is available on subscription only and Afro Leo is hoping Alec will respond for the benefit of our readers.

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