Gene therapies: who profits?

Aris Telonis
Tue 01, 2018, Articles Member-contributed
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It was science fiction that we would be able to intervene in human DNA to cure diseases. But today, gene therapy is a reality. Scientists are able to manufacture and inject a complex machinery of molecules guiding changes to our DNA that can cure very specific cases of blindness, blood disease and even certain types of cancer. If the spectrum of applications is so far narrow, more gene therapies are on the way. Millions in taxpayers’ money was responsible for funding research to mount such an impressive accumulation of scientific knowledge over recent decades and make clinical applications real.

Ideally, the development of a successful gene therapy would bring relief to all those suffering from the disease. But there is one big obstacle to overcome: capitalism. Pharmaceutical and insurance companies fight over the profit from gene therapies. In theory, a single dose would suffice for a complete cure. But, is this a sensible reason to charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for the therapy? Is it aligned with our human values to squabble over the therapy’s price, instead of making sure that every person in need actually benefits from it?

As a response to this commercialization (“profitization”) of publically funded technologies, DiEM25 has developed the Universal Basic Dividend alternative. We have yet to decide on wider health policies: that’s why we need your help. We have a forum and a platform to collectively develop ideas! First step: join us here.

 

Aris is a member and volunteer of the DiEM25 movement.

 

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