[Letters] Drug patent system needs rethinkCurrently, the Influenza A H1N1 virus is rapidly spreading throughout the world despite government efforts to prevent it. When the flu broke out, people were greatly worried about the virus’s destructive effects.
As we face the spread of the virus at this moment, we must realize some essential problems [that could make control of contagion difficult, even when a vaccine against this flu becomes available].
Obviously, the most important of these is the cost of the vaccine.
Even when a vaccine for this type of flu is developed, a majority of people will definitely have a hard time paying for it. If we look back at past examples, the most serious problem about all kinds of virus pandemics was that the drugs or vaccines for them were just too expensive.
In fact, we do have drugs for HIV-AIDS that can alleviate the symptoms and strengthen one’s immunity, but a majority of patients do not have access to them due to the cost.
Considering the fact that most of the people who are in need of medicines cannot have access to them because of cost, international organizations and governments should collaborate and come up with alternatives for the current patent system in order to solve the problem.
Chung Eun-Jee, Seoul