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  • Loony Academics or Lazy Journalism?

    From: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2527057.html

    Cheaper drugs 'breakthrough'


    LONDON



    Scientists say they have found a way to invent new medicines and market them at a fraction of the cost charged by drug companies, according to a report last night. Sunial Shaunak and his colleague Steve Brocchini claim that their “ethical pharmaceutical” model could enable millions in poor countries to be cured of infectious diseases as well as slashing the NHS drugs bill.

    Professor Shaunak, of Imperial College, said that he and Professor Brocchini, from the London School of Pharmacy, could alter the molecular structure of an existing drug and turn it technically into a new medicine which would no longer be under a 20-year patent to a multinational drug company.

    Professor Shaunak told The Guardian that their research and development costs would be substantially lower than those of multinational companies.

  • #2
    There's a longer story about it here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/...981198,00.html

    Definitely lazy journalism - the idea of tweaking the structure of a drug to produce a new one is hardly new is it? I'm more suprised that academics and NGOs haven't thought of it earlier.

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    • #3
      Cheap drugs for the masses

      even if drugs are given away free, they will still not reach those who need them as no distribution in place. When the canals were built in England, the price of coal halved overnight. Undeveloped countries have not got canals or roads to speak of and railways cannot reach the poor.

      thus to speak of lowering the cost of drugs for third world countries just means that the few will be enriched while the majority will see nothing.

      Examples are Ivermectin for river blindness and Vit A caps. Both are provided free but still do not get to those who need them.
      johnep

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      • #4
        Scientists say they have found a way to invent new medicines and market them at a fraction of the cost charged by drug companies, according to a report last night. Sunial Shaunak and his colleague Steve Brocchini claim that their “ethical pharmaceutical” model could enable millions in poor countries to be cured of infectious diseases as well as slashing the NHS drugs bill.

        Professor Shaunak, of Imperial College, said that he and Professor Brocchini, from the London School of Pharmacy, could alter the molecular structure of an existing drug and turn it technically into a new medicine which would no longer be under a 20-year patent to a multinational drug company.

        Professor Shaunak told The Guardian that their research and development costs would be substantially lower than those of multinational companies.
        From my experience that is what happens at the moment - the "me too" drugs. The chemists just put a methyl group here, a propyl group there, and it's a different drug. These new chemical compounds still have to go through the same safety procedures as before, so I can't see how the cost could be reduced.
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        • #5
          Molecular Roulette...

          Originally posted by admin View Post
          From my experience that is what happens at the moment - the "me too" drugs. The chemists just put a methyl group here, a propyl group there, and it's a different drug. These new chemical compounds still have to go through the same safety procedures as before, so I can't see how the cost could be reduced.
          It would be better to make sure that what overseas aid, whether it be from a government or a charity was actually making its way to the people who need it; rather than a Swiss bank account, be diverted and sold on, or another delivery of AK47s and RPGs. This way you can provide the medicine for the sick and improve the infrastructure so that they stay healthy.

          It must a slow news day when these sort of stories get into the press?
          47 BC : Julius Cesar : Veni Vidi Vici : I came, I saw I conquered.
          2018 AD : Modern Man : I shopped, I clicked, I collected.
          How times change.

          If you find you have read something that has upset or offended you an anyway please unread it at once.

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          • #6
            molecular roulette

            An example I used to quote was;

            nicotinamide----vitamin
            nicotinic acid---vitamin and vasodilator
            isonicotinyl alcohol-----vasodilator
            iso nicotinyl acid hydrazide---------tuberculostatic
            iproniazide-------tuberculostatic and antidepressant
            iso carboxazide---------antidepressant
            procarbazine-----------cytotoxic

            Was a profitable line of research for Roche.

            Others are sulphonamides-saccharin-thiazide diuretics

            tri cyclics---antihistamines, psychotropics, antidepressants
            johnep

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