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Friday, October 24, 2014
Ebola Crisis. Vaccine existed for ten years. Profits stood in the way.
by Sean O'Torrain.
The authors of this blog have always made clear that it believes that the profit motive should be taken out of health care. The correctness of this has been underlined by the recent events around the Ebola crisis in Western Africa. A vaccine was developed ten years ago which was 100% effective in protecting monkeys. The researchers said tests on humans could start in 2 years. But these never happened. Why? Let the New York Times explain. In its October 24th edition it writes: "It (the testing on humans) never happened. The vaccine sat on a shelf. .....experts acknowledge that the lack of follow up on such a promising candidate reflects a broader failure to produce medicines and vaccines for diseases that afflict poorer countries. Most drug companies have resisted spending the enormous sums useful mostly to countries with little ability to pay." The article goes on to quote Dr. James E. Crowe the director of a research center at Vanderbilt University. He said that "researchers who develop a prototype drug or vaccine that worked in animals often encountered a 'biotech valley of death' in which no drug company would help them cross the finish line." Tests on humans would cost much more than tests on animals and Crowe asked: "Who is going to pay for that? People invest in order to get money back." Well there it is. Laid out clear and simple. It is a question of profit.
Then when you look further it gets even worse. Much of the initial research for medicines and vaccines is done in publicly owned facilities and universities. In other words not paid for by the profit addicted so-called health care and pharmaceutical companies. It is only when these businesses of death see the possibility of making big profits that they will move in. Otherwise medicines and vaccines that could save lives just as this article sit on the shelf. Meanwhile out there where they are needed, in this case West Africa, poor people are dying in their thousands. These profit addicted so-called health industry owners are mass murderers.