Una oportunidad excepcional para la salud global

NUEVA YORK – Cada año mueren millones de personas debido a enfermedades que se pueden prevenir y tratar, sobre todo en los países pobres. En muchos casos se pueden producir a gran escala medicamentos baratos para salvar vidas pero sus precios de venta impiden que los compren las personas que los necesitan. Además, hay muchos que mueren sencillamente porque no hay curas o vacunas debido a que se dedican muy pocos recursos y talento de investigación del mundo para tratar las enfermedades de los sectores pobres.

Esta situación representa un fracaso de la economía y la legislación que se tiene que corregir urgentemente. La buena noticia es que ahora hay nuevas oportunidades de cambio, sobre todo mediante esfuerzos internacionales encabezados por la Organización Mundial de la Salud que empezarían a modificar el régimen ineficaz de propiedad intelectual que obstaculiza el desarrollo y disponibilidad de medicamentos asequibles.

Hay dos problemas principales que ahora están limitando el acceso a los medicamentos. Uno de ellos es que son muy caros; o más bien, el precio asignado es demasiado alto, aunque el costo para producirlos sea de tan solo una fracción de ese precio. Segundo, el desarrollo de medicamentos está orientado a obtener el máximo beneficio económico, no social, lo que sesga los esfuerzos dirigidos al desarrollo de medicamentos que son esenciales para el bienestar de la humanidad. Como los pobres disponen de poco dinero para gastar, las compañías de medicamentos, bajo las disposiciones actuales, tienen muy pocos incentivos para realizar investigaciones sobre las enfermedades que padecen los pobres.

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