Many people in the underdeveloped world die from diseases that are curable because they cannot afford the medication to treat themselves. Do you believe that drug companies in the developed world should be obliged to make their products available at reduced prices in these underdeveloped countries so that people do not die unnecessarily?
In the light of the scientific and technological advances that have been achieved in the modern era, a lot of uncurable diseases have become curable thanks to the continuous development of new drugs. A considerable debate can be identified as regards the provision of these drugs for those who cannot afford them at a deducted price where some people believe that pharmaceutical companies in the first world countries must perform this duty, whilst some others claim that this should not be compulsory. This essay will discuss both points of view before reaching a reasoned conclusion.
On the one hand, some people assume that contributing to treating the poor is deemed an ethical issue because if the companies only cared about the profits they make out of selling their drugs, they would be a potential cause of the death of many patients that were in dire need of their drugs. This would be perfectly illustrated by the period of time when there was an outbreak of avian flu in Egypt. The company that manufacture its medication accepted to provide the Egyptian authorities with the “Tamiflu” drug at a reduced price to help combat that kind of infection. Thus, this reveals how important it is to oblige companies to sacrifice a portion of their profits for the sake of helping people in need in developing nations.
On the other hand, others refute the previous argument as they emphasize that it is not the companies’ role to relinquish their profits. Rather, it is the government’s role to buy these drugs from companies using the money collected from citizens as taxes. Health insurance systems can exemplify this concept where the same drug sold at pharmacies at a high cost are sold inside some hospitals at a much lower price. Moreover, they assume that if such an obligation is placed on drug companies, they will probably move their business to another area which in turn will lead to detrimental results. This obviously shows the role of governments in tackling such a sensitive issue.
All in all, after analyzing the above-mentioned opinions, it seems clear to me that forcing drug companies to reduce the costs of their medicaments might not be an ideal solution since the burden is to be placed upon the governments to achieve these goals.