The folks at Kurzgesagt have a new video out, about Bacteriophages and their possible place as our saviours in the not-to-distant future.
The one standout piece of dialogue from the video for me is:
“Unfortunately this treatment is still experimental and pharma companies are reluctant to invest the necessary billions in a treatment that has no official approval yet.”
The sad truth is, many of our great medical achievements follow this pattern.
- The governments pour the billions in via grants, the researchers at universities and the universities themselves, set up ‘companies’ to receive the grant and to do the studies,
- The studies that are successful patent their findings as the company, the makers and the university often co-writing the patent.
- Then the pharma companies vie for the research and the patents and buy the company at a fraction of the cost of the research and for a stake in the patent.
- The pharma company ramps up production, and sell it to the masses at a marked up cost, often claiming it’s justified in doing so because of the cost of research, that some countries tax dollars often paid for.
At the moment big pharma doesn’t want to know about it, it’s promising, but they have their antibiotics to sell and they sell a LOT of them. Even with the rise of superbugs many doctors continue to prescribe antibiotics as a matter of course, almost as a placebo it seems.
Having said that, I have seen at least one paper that has been written on bacteriophages that was funded by Nestlé Health and Nestlé Health Science, so I guess some companies are investing in it, but clearly we need more.
Anyway, enough of my ranting. The video is very interesting to watch.