Good health is key to economic growth
Access to affordable medicines - A global issue
More importantly, this news also reminded this Leo about Max Planck Institute's Declaration on patents. Indeed, with access to affordable medicines, human lives can be saved for a few months or many years. Many, this Leo included, immediately think of developing countries - especially in Africa - when we see or hear the phrase 'access to medicines'. That would be expected since there are more articles such as this one. However, what is quickly forgotten - often quite rightly when comparisons are made - is that the access to medicines problem also exists in developed countries.
Take the UK as an example: there are news headlines (unsurprisingly, some are inaccurate) such as 'NICE rejects kidney cancer drug everolimus' and 'England's cancer drugs fund under strain as NICE rejects oncology medicines'.[More of these can be found here, here, here, here, here, here and here] Most argue that the patent regime (due to R&D) plays a role behind these headlines. Could these be used to validate Max Planck's observation that IP (especially, patent) problems are not exclusive to developing countries?
There are tricky (often moral) questions in the access to medicines debate including the impact of IP rights on affordability. Anyway, if this news is true, time will tell if it's a good idea for the government to be handling this sort of project or to focus on creating conducive and favourable conditions for the private sector to deliver the grand plan. [Afro Leo thinks that governments often like to build and, many years later, hand over to the private sector to enjoy]