Saturday, October 22, 2005

Bird Flu

A scenario is developing that could become something of gigantic proportions. Taiwan has apparently announced a desire to protect its citizens by starting a small scale production of the antiviral drug 'Tamiflu' - a Roche product protected by a current patent. This would be an unlicensed copy - a generic. If Roche cannot produce sufficient or will not - after all it is likely that a lot more countries will face a similar prospect - this could create a situation where a company will start legal proceedings against a foreign government. Roche has a legal right to protect its patent. It is not even known how effective this drug may turn out to be. It’s all there is at the moment, but the downside is that it could stifle research into better and more effective drugs.

It seems nature is once again taking a hand in testing Man’s behaviour. Corporate concerns and the survival of a business against the survival of potentially millions of people worldwide. This situation may not happen if the virus does not mutate and jump across species (bird to human) though it might demonstrate a throwback of early human history being linked to a flying creature (arms become wings as the species adapts and evolves).

This one should be watched since it highlights a fascinating moral/legal debate. Rather like the UK/Iraq situation.


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