IHP news 526: Access to medicines

By on June 14, 2019

Lancet World Report – Pharma blockchains AI for drug development

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(19)31401-1/fulltext

The venture would allow AI to be trained on millions of datapoints across databases from several drug companies without threatening the ownership and privacy of the data. Talha Burki reports.”

Stat News – GSK partners with CRISPR pioneer Doudna to search for new drugs

Stat News;

The drug maker GlaxoSmithKline announced Thursday that it would team up with some of the nation’s most prominent CRISPR researchers to use the gene-editing technology in a search for new medicines, establishing a new lab in San Francisco and spending up to $67 million over five years. Jennifer Doudna, the University of California, Berkeley, researcher who co-invented the CRISPR enzyme technology, will help lead the effort, along with Jonathan Weissman, a UC San Francisco researcher who has been using CRISPR to understand the function of individual human genes and how they work together. Both are Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators. The lab will be called the Laboratory for Genomic Research and will be based near UCSF’s Mission Bay campus….”

Devex – Tech solutions to fight fake medicines

J L Ravelo; https://www.devex.com/news/tech-solutions-to-fight-fake-medicines-94922

Short report on the use of AI as well as blockchain solutions to address the problem of counterfeit medicines.

NYT – A New Book Argues That Generic Drugs Are Poisoning Us

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/13/books/review/bottle-of-lies-katherine-eban.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share

Who would ever guess that Gandhi helped start an industry whose corruption now plagues us all? Yet here he is, early in Katherine Eban’s “Bottle of Lies,” barefoot in his Ahmedabad ashram, urging the chemist Khwaja Abdul Hamied (a fellow Indian nationalist) to copy Western drugs as a way to bring affordable medicine to India’s masses. Thus the generic drug industry began….”

“…Eban’s gripping book lays bare how Gandhi’s well-intentioned local action became hellish global fraud. At once a tale of tragic heroism and a sprawling but concisely written epic, it shows how an industry founded to counteract Big Pharma is now uneasily merging with it, creating a two-headed monster whose tentacles ensnare both hapless victims and would-be regulators….”

“…Thakur’s story [i.e. on Ranbaxy Laboratories ] stuns with how utterly corrupt an entire company can become. Both his and the book’s broader account of the industry, meanwhile, show how a quieter sort of corruption — an erosion of will and mission — has neutralized the industry’s overseers….”

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