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Originally published May 7 2007

Big Pharma vs. AIDS patients (comic)

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

Did you ever wonder why countries like Thailand and Brazil are taking steps to bypass pharmaceutical patent laws and make generic versions of AIDS drugs available to their people? It's because Big Pharma is using patents to extort money from poor AIDS patients around the world. Countries like Thailand have decided they're no longer going to tolerate the predatory pricing of U.S. and European drug companies armed with squads of intellectual property lawyers. Instead, they're just declaring national health emergencies and either buying or making their own generic equivalents of brand-name AIDS drugs.

Drug companies routinely abuse patent laws to deny medicines to the poorest people around the world unless they pay up. And they have to pay big! AIDS drugs are expensive even for Americans. For the average Thailand worker, who earns only a few dollars a day, the drugs are simply impossible to afford. But Big Pharma seems fine with the idea of, "If you don't pay up, you die," and they use patents to effectively restrict potentially lifesaving drugs from AIDS patients, all while claiming they're actually helping people. Sure they're helping SOME people: The ones who can afford to make drug companies even wealthier. But the rest just get abandoned.

Pharmaceuticals are a for-profit industry

A human life has no value to a drug company unless there is a revenue stream attached to it. Drug companies are in business to make money, not to save lives, and they have proven they'll use every tactic at their disposal to accomplish their goals, including using aggressive legal tactics, monopolistic market practices, corruption, bribery and the committing of crimes against humanity.

It is my belief that the nations of the world should end all patents on medicines, seeds and genes, returning that so-called "intellectual property" to the people instead of keeping it in the hands of greedy corporations. Drug companies use patent laws to monopolize chemicals that should belong in the public domain. Many of the chemicals used to make drugs were originally stolen from nature (biopiracy), then modified and patented by drug companies. So why should a corporation own a chemical that was originally found in nature in the first place? Shouldn't these medicines belong to the people?

Big Pharma defenders argue that without patent laws, drug innovation would stop. But that assumes what we're seeing now is innovation in the first place. It isn't. It's just profiteering. Most new drugs are no better than the old drugs they claim to replace, and the majority of the so-called "innovation efforts" pursued by drug companies today have nothing whatsoever to do with making people healthier, but everything to do with inventing and marketing new diseases and scaring consumers into thinking they need high-priced synthetic chemicals in their bodies just to function from day to day.

Much of pharmaceutical medicine, as practiced today, is a hoax. Calling it "innovation" is merely wishful thinking. Take note that even as Americans are paying the highest fees in the world for pharmaceuticals and health care, they are nowhere near the healthiest people in the world. Clearly, pharmaceutical-based medicine simply doesn't work!

Ending all patents on medicines would break Big Pharma's monopoly stranglehold over organized medicine and end the drug industry's global exploitation of consumers. Medicine should not be a for-profit industry. Medicine should be created and shared for the common good, to benefit as many people as possible, not to restrict drugs from only those who are not wealthy enough to pay.

Because the bottom line is that no nation can continue to afford Big Pharma's price-fixing scam that marks up drugs as much as 500,000% over the cost of their raw ingredients. The pharmaceutical industry is right now bankrupting the U.S. federal government and numerous states like California. If something radical isn't done soon to end Big Pharma's profiteering and control over medicine, we will all be losers, not just AIDS patients living in poor nations.

End drug patents. Medicine should be open source.

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