Getting medicines to people who need them in developing countries is a top goal of public health experts worldwide, many of whom note that people are dying all the time of diseases for which treatments exist. Universities, whose scientists' research is crucial to many of those drugs and which enjoy a share of royalties on some of those drugs, are finding themselves drawn into a debate that has as much to do with the economics of the pharmaceutical industry as anything that takes place in a laboratory.
Submitted by Andy Guess on October 17, 2008 - 4:00am
Last summer, the group representing major research universities endorsed legislation that sought to balance the interests of drug makers and the scientists whose work can translate into new advances in medicine. At least one group, however, is sounding the alarm that the bill would make it more difficult to bring cheap, generic drugs to the market -- at the expense of both American consumers and people in developing countries.
In a state known for horse racing, it's fair to say lawmakers have pressed the University of Louisville to gallop into a brighter research future. That encouragement began more than a decade ago, when Kentucky's "bucks for brains" program started matching private dollars given to universities in support of research and faculty recruitment.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: an academic novel, set at a fictional (but prestigious) American research university, portrays tenured faculty who are indolent but querulous; students whose main activities include protesting, avoiding classes, and popping pills; and an administration that’s disorganized, secretive, and ineffectual. Money and status are the primary concerns of professors and administrators alike; the community as a whole is characterized by lassitude and petty squabbling, while education is of minimal importance to anyone.