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Pharmaceutical costs

The course work is to respond to each discussion with a 250 word response supported with at least one citation. Below are two submissions for Post #1 regarding the prescription costs and pharmaceutical companies. I need Post #2. One response for each discussion.
Post #1
This week s discussion will look at conflict and change in the American healthcare system. At the center of this conflict is a struggle between providers and consumers. Today as in the past, consumers are reliant on pharmaceutical companies for treatment of chronic and acute illnesses. Pharmaceutical companies have been criticized for the high cost of their drugs that prevent access to treatment. When the AIDS epidemic was in its early days, drugs were available in the West (United States and Canada) and Europe but not in developing countries. The fact was that HIV drugs were simply too expensive to buy in developing countries. Today, all this has changed due to medicine patent pools.
After reading this week s assigned readings and watching Ellen t’Hoen: Pool medical patents, save lives, please answer the following questions:
Hoen, E. (2016). Pool medical patents, save lives. YouTube.
1. In the early part of 2000s, one country did not recognize drug patents and started producing generic antiviral drugs to help AIDS patients.
a. Name the country
b. What happened to the price of antivirals when they started producing their generic version
2. At the time Ms. t Hoen s video was taped, how many individuals were infected with AIDS in the world
3. Ms. t Hoen compared airplane manufacturing patent pools with medicine patent pools. What is the major difference between both patent pools
4. Is it ethical for drug companies to make money instead of saving peoples lives
5. Can we do anything as healthcare providers to make drugs available to consumers who
(In order to receive credit for your original posting IT must be a minimum of 300 words. If your posting is less than 300 words, you will receive 0 points)
Post #2
Please reply to at least (2) of your classmate’ original postings.
(In order to receive credit for each response posting IT must be a minimum of 175 word. If your posting is less than 175 words, you will receive 0 points)

Post #1
1. The patent wars have been going on with pharmaceutical companies, which are singularly focused on profit alone rather than saving lives, aggressively pushing for patents, and high drug prices being the result of it. Thus, only the rich in the developed countries receive care while the diseased poor of the Third World, especially in Africa, are doomed to die from the HIV epidemic. At the time Ms. t Hoen made her TED speech, 34 million people were infected with HIV, of which only eight million had access to antiretroviral drugs ( t Hoen, 2016).
Regarding this, the question arises of whether it is ethical to make profits at the expense of people s lives.
In 2000, India did not recognize the patents in pharmaceutics. Hence, the companies there embarked on a large scale production of the generic drugs, which were low-cost forms of antiretroviral medicines. The drugs were exported to the developing countries, which led to the falling of prices therefore, people could access them and lives were saved.
Ms. t Hoen delved into history to draw some parallels with other patent pools. The major difference between the Airplane Patent Pool of the brothers Wright era and the Medicines Patent Pool is that the latter is a voluntary mechanism, but with the airplane patent holders, it was and is a must. The Medicines Patent Pool relies on the willingness of pharmaceutical companies to license their patents or, on the other hand, make them available for others to use.
The question of whether pharmaceutical patents should be bypassed to save lives is hotly debated: people are now looking for a long-lasting solution on how to break the monopoly on HIV drugs enjoyed by pharmaceutical companies in a bid to make the costly life-saving medicines available for the poor people suffering from HIV/AIDS who cannot afford the branded drugs. Activists and nonprofit organizations have been challenging the patents held by these monster corporations and advocating the rights of other companies to produce the cheap, affordable versions of out-of-patent drugs (Boseley, 2016).
Patents normally offer protection to the inventors ensuring that those who hold them enjoy a monopoly on production. Since there is no competition, the patent holders can charge any prices they wish to. Though it s their intellectual property, it s unethical and unacceptable to cut lives short due to the greedy desires to enjoy high profits. People want to make corporate profits at the expense of lives. International laws that uphold the interests of pharmaceuticals prohibit the manufacturing of life-saving drugs.
Due to the patent wars, one of the best ways to force the prices of the live saving drugs down is through compulsory licensing. This would be beneficial to both the patent holders and the people suffering from the preventable killer diseases. The patent owner would get some compensation, but not the big profits they might have expected to earn. Another option is bypassing the patents on life-saving drugs. There is a dilemma since the ethical obligation to save lives seems to oppose the ethical prohibition on stealing. There is an ethical issue on whether drug companies should copy drug patents and provide the poor from the developing countries with cheaper drugs ( Patents on life-saving drugs should be bypassed, 2016).

References
Boseley, S. (2016, January 26). Big Pharma s worst nightmare. The Guardian. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jan/26/big-pharmas-worst-nightmare
‘t Hoen, E. (2012, December 10). Ellen t Hoen: Pool Medical Patents, Save Lives [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch v=VbF2KPn3TrU
Patents on life-saving drugs should be bypassed. (2016). DebateWise. Retrieved from http://debatewise.org/debates/2307-patents-on-life-saving-drugs-should-be-bypassed/

Post #1
2. In the early 2000 s, HIV treatment was only available in rich countries, since the drugs were very expensive. Only a few pharmaceuticals companies in the Western world had patents to produce these drugs. And they were unwilling to make them available to the masses. Fortunately, these patents did not exist in all countries. India was the one country that did not recognize these pharmaceutical product patents and therefore started producing generic versions of these drugs at a low cost and made them available in developing countries (Hoen, 2016).
When India started producing these generic versions, the prices of antivirals went down from ten thousand dollars per patient per year to three hundred and fifty dollars. More people could access the treatment and even treatment programs became a possibility (Hoen, 2016). At the time Ms. Hoen s video was taped, thirty-four million people were infected with HIV worldwide. When the prices dropped, people could access the treatment and they also stopped passing on the virus from one person to another.
The key difference between airplane manufacturing patent pools and medicine patent pools is that the medicine patent pool is a voluntary mechanism, which relies on the willingness of the pharmaceutical companies to license their patents and make them available for others to use, while the airplane manufacturing patent pools do not usually have the choice of whether to make their patents available to others or not, as they are rather forced by the government to make them available. With the medicine patent pool, the pharmaceutical companies can decide not to make the patents available to others and therefore remain the only ones manufacturing the drugs.
It is not ethical for the drug companies to specialize in making money by holding their patents and making drugs too expensive for the patients, since the high prices lead to less people being able to buy the medicine, hence increasing the number of deaths (The moral argument of drug availability, 2016). And when the companies increase their prices, health facilities are not able to provide the drugs for their patients and can not treat them. Drug companies should be willing to make patents available to other companies, as this will also increase the availability of the drugs to all in need. To avoid the unethical practices, the company should consider its involvement in the regulation of these prices so as to ensure that they do not make profits at the expense of the people s health (Vaughan, 2016).
Healthcare providers should engage in programs to help those who cannot afford medicine. For example, programs like the prescription assistance programs, which enable people who may not be able to afford their medications to get them at reduced prices. Usually, these people need an approval from healthcare providers and they should be willing to help people who cannot afford drugs with the information needed for them to benefit from these programs. It is important to note again, that healthcare providers should not be focusing on earning large amounts of money, but rather helping people in need. Since most healthcare providers usually own the pharmaceutical companies, they tend to advise patients to buy drugs from these specific private companies. Therefore healthcare providers should have to make sure the patients get the medicine they need in the hospital and help them avoid being exploited by the private pharmaceutical companies (Health information for older people, 2016).

References
Hoen, E. (2016). Pool medical patents, save lives. YouTube. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.youtube.com/watch v=VbF2KPn3TrU
Team Kenan at the Kenan Institute for Ethics (2016). The moral argument of drug availability. Kenan.ethics.duke.edu. Retrieved November 24, 2016, from http://kenan.ethics.duke.edu/teamkenan/encompass/current-issue/the-moral-argument-of-drug-availability/
Prescription Assistance Programs. (2016). Health information for older people | Consumer information. Consumer.ftc.gov. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0319-prescription-assistance-programs-health-information-older-people
Vaughan, J. (2016). Ethical discussions: The ethics of drug pricing. General Education. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://blog.spcollege.edu/general-education/ethical-discussions-the-ethics-of-drug-pricing-spcethics/

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