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Why I will never succeed as a scientist

They did it with the Hepatitis B vaccine, and now they are doing it with cancer.


It's just so unconscionable that it makes me sick. These are PEOPLE'S LIVES that we are talking about. I know the arguments - 'what price do you put on a life?', right? Well, if it something that can potentially save a life, YOU SHOULD FUCKING WELL GIVE IT AWAY AND SAVES LIVES. Yes, if it can save a life rich people will pay ANY goddamn price you put on it. That doesn't mean you have the right to charge what ever the fuck you want for it.

People who can't afford this vaccine are going to DIE because they weren't vaccinated.

You know what? I'm fucking sick of what is happening to the biological sciences. Rich fat cats (and barely I restrain myself from saying bourgeoisie) are only putting forward the funding for projects which are marketable, and for which they can make EVEN MORE money from. Very few organisations are poneying up cash for stuff which is VITALLY needed by the poor, by third world countries, and the like, without charging a HUGE amount of money for the finished product.

WHY IS MONEY GOING INTO PERIODONTAL DISEASE RESEARCH INSTEAD OF HIV RESEARCH? Or into any other of a whole host of diseases that will kill people or make their lives so unbareably difficult that they WISH they were dead?

It's not fair, it's not righ, and it's not just. And it sickens me to my very core that I am part of this rancid community, and unless I want to live on dust, cardboard and dreams, I have to do things their way. Make no mistake, I will be doing everything I can to stop this kind of thing happening, but until I win a Nobel prize or something, NO-ONE IS GOING TO LISTEN TO ME, OR CHANGE A GODDAMN THING.

It just makes me so very ANGRY.


Nov. 17th, 2006 07:54 am (UTC)
I have the same feelings quite often.

But the economics of drugs are not as clear cut as people think. Unlike, say, a motor car, which can be re-engineered until it *works* and then can recoup it's losses, a drug cannot usually be re-engineered in this way. This leads to failures (and I'm talking of vaccines here too) millions upon millions of failures. And the further through development it gets before it fails, the more it costs.

And how do these costs get covered? By the one drug or vaccine in a billion that actually makes it to market. That treatment doesn't have to cover it's own costs, but the costs of every other treatment that failed to make it. Millions of them.

And if that drug doesn't make that money back, then there is less money for future research. And without patent protection no research would occur in these areas - who would pony-up a half-billion dollars to develop a treatment that another company could copy and sell for less because they don't have to recoup the development costs?

People also talk about letting poor countries have HIV drugs at 90% discount. I don't see how this could ever work. The poor in those countries would just sell their drugs back to those in richer countries at a 500% mark-up. The poor would feed their families and the HIV sufferers in the US would get their drugs at half-price.

Take heart - the Gates Foundation is putting many millions into Malaria Vaccine research. And not dribs and drabs of $10,000-$100,000 but large grants of millions of dollars each.

Tse-Tse is also getting a lot of research money now too.

And I ahte to say it but a lot of the "rich peoples" cures become cheaper over time. Cheap enough that the poor can afford them. It only costs the Fred Hollows people $40 to cure someone's blindness.

I'm rambling.

I just wanted to say I know how you feel.