全球卫生状况的突破性机会

纽约—每年都有数百万人因可防可治的疾病而身亡,特别是在穷国。在很多情形中,救命药可以以低廉的成本大量生产,但售价却让需要者望而却步。更有许多人的死仅仅是因为缺少治疗或疫苗,而造成这种情况的原因是用于为穷人治病的世界宝贵研究人才和有限资源太少。

如此状况反映了经济学和法律方面急需得到修正的失灵。好消息是现在改变的机会已现,主要是通过一项由世界卫生组织牵头的国际计划,该计划将开始修正造成廉价药品开发和难以获得问题的知识产权制度漏洞。

如今,药品之所以难以获得,主要是拜两大问题所赐。其中之一是药品成本太高;或者,更正确地说,是药品要价太高,而生产成本只是要价的一小部分。第二个问题是药品开发的着眼点是利润最大化,而不是社会效益最大化,这使得药品开发倾向于创造对人类福利至关重要的品种。而穷人根本没有多少钱可花,因此,在现有安排下,制药公司根本没什么激励研究折磨穷人的疾病。

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