by Tony Cartalucci
February 15, 2014
In Slashdot's "Big
Pharma Presses U.S. to Quash Cheap Drug Production in India," it
"Pharmaceutical Research and
Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), are leaning on the United
States government to discourage India from allowing the
sale of affordable generic drugs
to treat diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and
India is currently
on the U.S. government's Priority Watch List - countries whose
practices on protecting intellectual property Washington
believes should be monitored closely.
Novartis lost a six-year legal battle after the Indian
Supreme court ruled that small changes and improvements to the
drug Glivec did not amount to innovation deserving of a patent.
Western drugmakers Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis, Roche
Holding, Sanofi, and others have a bigger share of the
fast-growing drug market in India.
But they have been frustrated
by a series of decisions on patents and pricing, as part of New
Delhi's push to increase access to life-saving treatments in a
place where only 15 percent of 1.2 billion people are covered by
One would certainly understand and probably
agree with the need for for cheaper drugs. But don't forget that
Big Pharma, for all its problems still is the number one creator
of new drugs.
In 2012 alone, the
U.S. government and private companies
spent a combined $130
billion on medical research."
And while Slashdot claims that "Big Pharma, for all its problems still is the number one creator of new
drugs," it should be remembered that much of that money
comes from federal grants, or in other
words, out of the pocket of tax payers.
Once these new drugs are developed, Big-Pharma's business model is defended stalwartly by
regulators, the media, and other facets of the corporate-financier
oligarchy ruling over the Western world.
The immense profits
generated by the West's health care racket are not merely helping
recover R&D costs - the immensity of "Big Pharma" in
and of itself is testament of this.
Big pharma and big health - there is nothing they can do that we the
people can't do better.
Unwrapping the enigma in which our health
care exists is step one in medical liberation.
for Big Pharma to hold profits and the contrived notion of
"intellectual property" over the lives of impoverished people abroad
is truly indefensible.
Several barriers prevent this skewed formula from being balanced or
indeed, tilted in favor of the people.
For one, the notion of "intellectual property" prevents both the
knowledge derived from research and development from passing into
the hands of others who could potentially improve both the process
of developing drugs as well as the very drugs produced in the first
Since this knowledge is in part paid for by
the people, it
should be accessible to the people.
Another barrier are regulatory bodies that do not in fact function
for the benefit of the health and safety of the people, but the
profits and reputations of the corporations utilizing them.
FDA has literally approved poison for human consumption on more than
one occasion - not the result of incompetence, but the result of
collusion with profiteering monopolies.
Hitting Back - Open Pharmaceuticals
Circumventing these barriers will require creativity and ingenuity
on the part of the people.
Legislation simply will not work, since
the legislators are easily and continuously bought off - nor will
protests. Instead, we must unwrap the enigma within which
pharmaceutical R&D (research and develop) exists, and begin developing our own medical
treatments through professional cooperatives.
There are already people working toward this goal -
multidisciplinary professionals seeking to circumvent the
frustrating pipeline of pharmaceutical and treatment development.
One of these people is
who is currently working on a project called the "Pink
Cancer is perhaps the most frustrating condition with which one can
be inflicted. It is also a disease that generates millions for the
health care industry and pharmaceutical giants despite the fact that
treatments are generally ineffective, and worse still, devastating
to those who take them before their inevitable demise.
The Pink Army Cooperative seeks to leverage advances in
biotechnology through a cooperative model of R&D as well as
implementation, to bring treatments that are both effective and
affordable to the people who need them most.
It short-circuits the political battle
between Big Pharma and its victims, and goes
straight for pragmatic solutions.
From the Andrew Hessel's
website, it states:
Can you imagine a cancer treatment
made just for you, in a day, for free? One with almost no
It sounds like science fiction but I
believe it’s within reach if we work together. Here’s why.
When you think about it, cancer is just an infection of your
body with some of your own cells that have gone rogue. Not
unlike a bacterial infection, which have been treated
successfully since penicillin, turning a once-deadly disease
into a trivial, take-a-pill-and-go-home fix.
With cancer, treatment requires
killing just the rogue cells while leaving the good ones
untouched. The challenge is specificity - the ability of the
treatment to affect one type of cell and not another.
we use today aren’t specific. They’re broad. So broad that
they’re akin to busting a few bad guys in New York by nuking the
entire city. It’s effective, but there’s a lot of collateral
We really need is a molecular police force able to
distinguish good cells from bad - and these were impossible
until we had biotechnology.
It is highly recommended that readers
continue on with the
introduction, as well as browse the rest of the
Pink Army Cooperative
The promise offered by Hessel's proposal is not merely theoretical.
Cancer has been cured through the use of a,
"molecular police force
able to distinguish good cells from bad."
Gene therapy carried out
against a variety of blood cancers have already successfully (and so
far permanently) cured 120 patients.
AP reports in their article, "GENE
THERAPY SCORES BIG WINS AGAINST BLOOD CANCERS," that:
In one of the biggest advances
against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors
are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to
transform patients' blood cells into soldiers that seek and
A few patients with one type of
leukemia were given this one-time, experimental therapy several
years ago and some remain cancer-free today.
Now, at least six
research groups have treated more than 120 patients with many
types of blood and bone marrow cancers, with stunning results.
"It's really exciting," said Dr.
Janis Abkowitz, blood diseases chief at the University of
Washington in Seattle and president of the American Society of
Hematology. "You can take a cell that belongs to a patient and
engineer it to be an attack cell."
In one study, all five adults and 19
of 22 children with acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL, had a
complete remission, meaning no cancer could be found after
treatment, although a few have relapsed since then.
These were gravely ill patients out
of options. Some had tried multiple bone marrow transplants and
up to 10 types of chemotherapy or other treatments.
While the advances being made against
cancer right now are driven by institutions and government funding,
the technology that is resulting will lay the infrastructure for
Hessel's Pink Army Cooperative.
Manning that infrastructure may be
ordinary people from around the world, being educated and trained in
all matters biological at their local DIYbio laboratory.
The diving costs and simplicity of modern biotechnology is opening
doors to make it as accessible and affordable as personal computing.
The "killer app" for personal biotechnology will surely be health
care cooperatives that give the masses a truly appealing alternative
to the variety of big-business "solutions" being offered now by,
immense pharmaceutical corporations (costly, ineffective drugs)
insurance providers (Obama care, rationed care in the EU),
others parasitically profiteering from the misfortune of others.
For readers today,
the world of DIYbio and finding a local laboratory (or starting
one) can be the first step on the journey toward health care
Like the media monopolies now crumbling in the face of
advances in IT, pharmaceutical monopolies will likewise fall.
Building bridges to the many dedicated professionals lining these
industries will be essential in establishing alternatives that truly
serve the best interests of the people.
Remembering that biotechnology is a double-edged sword, able to cut
in any direction depending on the hands that wield it, should
encourage us to pick it up and ensure it stays in our hands.
Technological disparity breeds injustice, and the only true means to
reduce this disparity is to put technology into as many hands as