Could Pharmaceutical Companies Have Changed the Severity of the Ebola Outbreak?

ebolaA Yale paper published Feb.11 in the Journal of Global Health argues that implementation of a new agency to fund pharmaceutical companies could have decreased the severity of the recent Ebola outbreak. According to Yale Daily News:

Professor of philosophy and internal affairs Thomas Pogge, who is the paper’s lead author, has developed the Health Impact Fund as a way to motivate pharmaceutical companies to produce drugs that will have the greatest global health impact instead of just those that generate a profit. The idea of the fund is for governments to contribute 0.01 to 0.03 percent of their Gross National Incomes to the fund to support companies in developing drugs that they might not otherwise pursue. This structure would take the buying power of the individuals impacted by a disease out of the equation, making drug development a more equitable process.

Zintro expert Dr. Shen-An Hwang is an immunologist with expertise in acute and chronic inflammatory and infectious diseases. He has experience in a wide range of areas, including immune therapeutics, broad spectrum immune modulators, anti-inflammatory agents, cell/receptor specific therapies, biologics, and nutraceuticals. Dr. Hwang responds to Thomas Pogge’s paper below:

“Dr. Pogge’s idea is extremely idealistic and not workable in the real world. He is under the assumption that the outbreak was due to lack of a cure/treatment. But Ebola is a fairly wimpy infectious disease, compared to many, many others. And previous outbreaks were contained with standard public health protocols.

“To Dr. Pogge’s central argument that increased funding will increase the development of treatment… Besides the fact that a complete cure may be unachievable, the issue is a lot more complicated. A drug is useless if there isn’t a stable government, an army of public health workers, consistent education of the public, and trust in science/modern medicine.

“Think about the outbreaks of measles and whooping cough in the U.S. Think about the HIV/AIDS epidemics and their rising incidence in many parts of the world. In all cases, there is either a treatment or an effective vaccine. Science can fight the disease, but we can’t fight the human personality. Until we “treat” this human personality quirk where their belief in their own view (without evidence) is correct despite contrary scientific facts, we will continue to have outbreaks with various levels of causalities.”

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