[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] Indexes: Main | Date | Thread | Author

Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Licensing of the unrevii email archives (wasre: Progress on...)

Eric Armstrong wrote:
> [Snipped Interesting stuff on patented drugs vs. free supplements]
> The real issue here is that, for lack of profit, hugely beneficial
> potential remedies go unadvertised, unpromoted, and unrecognized.
> [More snipped]
> No. The answer, I'm afraid, is social judo. We *have* to create
> profit opportunities for useful discoveries, to hasten their adoption.
> Again, there is value in the government-patent process, too. We need
> a taxonomy which would allow us to distinguish the cases. I don't
> really see it, at the moment. Perhaps the counter-view described above
> will help us to identify it.    (01)

I enjoyed reading this. You are quite right in the main, for example
physicians are still prescribing antibiotics instead of cranberry juice
for UTIs and applying whatever instead of applying yogurt for yeast
infections. There are cases where non-prescription remedies have been
successful -- St. John's Wort was one of them (and it was proven in
Germany first).  But in general, medical schools spend at most few hours
out of multi-year medical curriculums on nutrition. Perhaps one big
issue is culture more than profit? In general, medicine loves to take
the credit for improvement in living conditions and increased longevity
otherwise more readily attributable to cleaner water, improved
sanitation, and better nutrition. If you factor out forceps for
delivering babies, 
is medical technology really doing a whole lot for humanity as a whole
considering the great cost? And if it can, should we keep it secret or
under patent and proprietary copyright? From:
"In 18th-century England, a family of obstetricians built a huge
practice by delivering babies with a lower rate of infant and maternal
mortality than their competitors. They had a secret -- and guarded it
jealously, until an inquisitive medical student climbed onto the roof of
their delivering room, looked through the skylight and saw the forceps
they had invented. The secret was out, to the benefit of all
obstetricians and their patients. Today's obstetricians do not keep
their discoveries secret, they publish them." Should drug patent
licensing be any different from forceps patent licensing?    (02)

We would not have new drugs without drug company R&D which takes money,
drug companies would argue... However, from what I understand, much of
the funding for new drugs comes from NIH (thus the US government). Drug
companies just exploit this research by adding a something to this
larger pot, either directly or by building on basic research related to
understanding metabolic pathways or gene-protein-somatic interactions.
For example:
"The NIH document shows how crucial taxpayer-funded research is to the
development of top-selling drugs. According to the NIH, U.S.
taxpayer-funded scientists conducted at least 55 percent of the research
projects that led to the discovery and development of the five
top-selling drugs in 1995. ... Public Citizen found that, at most, about
22 percent of the new drugs brought to market in the past two decades
were innovative drugs that represented important therapeutic advances.
Most new drugs were "me-too" or copycat drugs that have little or no
therapeutic gain over existing drugs, undercutting the industry's claim
that R&D expenses are used to discover new treatments for serious and
life-threatening illnesses."    (03)

The drug company arguement is also lame because eventually it is likely
a patient will have a drug synthesized to order based on their own
unique biochemistry derived from a DNA analysis and extensive minimally
invasive testing.    (04)

The medical system definitely has problems. Doctors prescribe what they
are pushed by the drug companies, patients have little else to turn, and
Pharmacists no longer prescribe (as they once did) and packages by law
can't usually claim health benefits. But the internet is starting to
change that -- even with something as simple as usenet newsgroups. So
here's a suggestion -- perhaps some companies making nutritional
supplements will support you in making a free OHS like system like you
implicitly outline. If it had a major web presence, then perhaps
patients would become more aware of these alternatives.    (05)

Here is a starting point, an loosely licensed book (seems you could
perhaps put it on the web) called "Where there is no doctor: A Village
Health Care Handbook" by David Werner which claims to be for both the
underdeveloped and overdeveloped worlds.
Underdeveloped countries have little medical care, and overdeveloped
countries have people without insurance or insured people who have
turned their health care entirely over to professionals with no
understanding themselves of basic health issues. It's a very educational
book (was just looking through our copy yesterday).    (06)

But if you did create an on-line health and nutrition reference, I hope
you structure the licensing in such a way that it encourages the whole
community to participate for the long term in creating a global resource
related to nutrition and health. An easy way to do that is put the whole
thing under some specific form of free or open source license like the
  http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html    (07)

The GFDL might be a good choice for the email archive as well.     (08)

-Paul Fernhout
Kurtz-Fernhout Software 
Developers of custom software and educational simulations
Creators of the Garden with Insight(TM) garden simulator
http://www.kurtz-fernhout.com    (09)