Fair Trade Pharma: A Plan for More Affordable Prescription Drugs

Why do first-world ailments get cured faster than global health crises? Because Big Pharma doesn’t serve sick people, it serves rich people—let's change that.

One of the world's open secrets is that we don't look after all sick people in the same way. Why does back pain in the U.S. get a treatment developed faster than fatal dysentery in Central Africa? It's not a huge riddle: research and development programs of the pharmaceutical industry treat the diseases and ailments that will turn the highest profit. To solve a problem this large and unjust, Nicole Hassoun, a residential fellow with the Hope & Optimism Project at Cornell University, is employing the virtue she terms 'creative resolve'. When obstacles get in our way, Hassoun says we need to think innovatively about how can we change the problem or look at it differently. If we can't appeal to Big Pharma's better nature, then we have to come up with more creative solutions. And Hassoun has one: fair trade pharmaceuticals. Here, she explains her idea to incentivize cheaper drugs and medical access to combat global health crises. This video was filmed as part of the Los Angeles Hope Festival, a collaboration between Big Think and Hope & Optimism.

Antidepressants: Why the ‘Overmedicated America’ Narrative Is Harmful

We're in an epidemic of mental illness and in an epidemic of misinformation about mental illness. The myth that America is "overmedicated" regarding antidepressants only furthers the stigma that stops people from seeking help.

Big Pharma has got itself a bad, bad name. Many people become nervous at the mention of pharmaceutical intervention for mental illness, but there's another solution that may bring ease to some: it's called little farmer, quips psychiatrist Drew Ramsey. For how food can control conditions like anxiety and depression, look through Ramsey's previous videos on Big Think. But here, Ramsey wants to address the popular notion that America is overprescribed. "I always like to point out that the ten percent of Americans who take antidepressants in the morning, they do that voluntarily because it's something that helps them." In his 16 years of psychiatric practice, Ramsey has more often seen mis-prescription rather than overprescription. But at least mis-prescribed people are on the path to finding the right treatment – much worse is the people who aren't getting any help at all whether it be diet, or therapy, or pharmaceuticals. Psychiatric medication isn't right for everyone, but in many cases it truly saves lives, says Ramsey. If we continue to propagate the over-prescription myth for this kind of medication (opiates are another issue), it may alienate those who need help from seeking it at all. Stigma doesn't help in the effort to reduce severe life disruption and suicide, which for the latter totaled 42,773 Americans in 2014, a steep rise from 29,199 people in 1999. Drew Ramsey's book is Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health.

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CVS to Sell Generic "EpiPen" at a Dramatically Lower Price

Does the move come out of an obligation to fairness, or some other reason? 

 

For those with an extreme allergy, anaphylaxis is an ever-present concern. Such a reaction can occur within minutes and cause serious, even life-threatening symptoms such as rapid heart rate, a drop in blood pressure, and a swelling of the nose and throat that can severely hamper, even cut off, breathing. This generally occurs in response to certain foods like nuts or eggs, or an insect sting. In these cases, an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) is required to stop the reaction and bring the person back to normal.

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