FROM 'OPEN MEDICINE':
NEW PRESCRIPTIONS FOR NEGLECTED DISEASES:
BY JAMES MASKALYK
The online journal Open Medicine has been mentioned previously on these pages. It is basically an alternative medical journal, alternative in format and concept rather than in subject matter. Publication is online and access to its pages is free to anyone registering. The journal was started by ex-members of the Canadian Medical Association Journal after many were fired or quit following a dispute involving editorial freedom and undue outside influence on the journal's contents. Since its inception back in April of this year Open Medicine has posted many new articles, focusing very much on "progressive medicine" with its social ramifications.
A recent article 'New Prescriptions for Neglected Diseases' by James Maskalyk of the medicine faculty at the University of Toronto. has caught my eye. The author discusses the disparity between the availability of medicines in the rich world versus their scarcity in poorer counties with emphasis on Chagas Disease. Not only does Maskalyk point out the glaring disparity, but he also presents some practical solutions to the problem, many of which are now in progress. He talks about the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and the Pan American Health Organization. He mentions how two researchers in the United Kingdom have done an end run around the patent protection schemes of Big Pharma by formulating a slightly chemically modified form of a therapeutic drug and then patenting it as a new drug while at the same time making its production free to manufacturers in poor countries. The world's only non-profit drug manufacturer, The Institute for OneWorld Health, also in the UK is mentioned as well. This outfit presently has drugs under development for both Chagas Disease and for visceral Leishmaniasis.
All told a very interesting and practical read. Go on over to Open Medicine to see this and many other fine items.