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Balance human suffering with the economic realities

Poor countries assert that patented drugs are too expensive for most of their people to afford. The issue becomes especially noteworthy over drugs for AIDS sufferers in Africa. Monthly drug expenses are above total income levels. Countries have been changing their drug laws to eliminate patent rights in certain cases.

How do you balance human suffering with the economic realities? Do drug companies have an ethical duty to sell their products for the lowest price? Should countries abolish the patent protection for drugs? Support your answer with examples and arguments?

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I think that first we have to determine what we mean by "economic realities". Would the first world pharmaceuticals go bankrupt because in poor countries, where they cannot sell at high prices, decides to ignore patent laws? Would they go bankrupt if they were to provide it at a lower cost there than in other areas of the world? The answer to that is no. Making pharmaceuticals once they have been tested is very cheap. All research costs at that point are sunk. If they price those pharmaceuticals at a higher level than what people can afford in poor countries then it is a market in which they make no revenue ...

Solution Summary

The topic of how to balance human suffering with the economic realities is debated.