Wednesday, March 23, 2005

breaking a chain inside my head

I was scratching my head, wondering why Blogger decided to date yesterday's post as part of Monday's, until I realized- hey, I don't really care. Yep, I guarantee this much, it doesn't take much to get me apathetic.

You know what will freak you out? Waking up, still groggy, and hearing what NPR calls parentese- oh lawd. This explains my idiocy well- my parents are not the huggy, cooing type. I'm pretty sure my father read me engineering manuals to put me to bed; I distinctly remember trying to help him pronounce the word manufacturability at age 9. You know what? That is still a hard word to pronounce, native English speaker or not. Anyway, when listening to all this goo-goo ga-ga sh** first thing in the morning, I was convinced I was still asleep and having some sort of Teletubbies nightmare.

It's possible that the alien dude that popped out of John Hurt's stomach way back when may be currently lodged in my cranium. It's pounding at all sides of my brain. I don't like this guy very much at all. At lunch, I unwittingly had a sandwich laced with something horseradish-y in it. That cleared out my sinuses and head for a few minutes. But then the alien returned, and he's dancing again. Which in turn reminds me of GNR before Axl lost his mind and started wearing cornrow extensions- We've been dancing with Mr. Brownstone, he's been knocking, he won't leave me alone. Ah, the good ole days.

An intriguing development in India I heard about today: it could possibly be illegal to make patent-protected drugs there soon. I probably shouldn't even be pondering an issue like this while I'm nursing a headache, because it's quite complex. Right now, India is one of the leading manufacturers of cheap drugs because they can make US patent-protected medications without penalty, as long as they don't sell it back to the US. Previously, this was a minor issue, since there was a general fear that manufacturers weren't really making the right drugs, i.e. your generic Prozac might be diluted with crap that puts you into a coma. However, in recent years, India has really legitimized their generics, mostly because of their scientific infrastructure and availability of skilled labor. Of course, that likely sent the drug companies into a frenzy. The chain reaction begins- US drug companies lobby the Congress/US government, the US government starts pressuring India, next thing you know- legislation is afoot. This could mean especially bad news for HIV medications- the generic versions of these are commonly made in India, and are thus affordable to those afflicted in Africa, India, and other third world areas. If manufacturers have to license the rights to make these meds from companies, prices will increase substantially.

It might be simple to end the story there, with a hearty Kyle, you bastards! But I can't quite do that. Patent protection was created to encourage innovation- not to be a capitalist pig, but a lot of times, the promise of monetary reward fuels innovation, and a lack of monetary reward extinguishes it. Patent protection does allow companies to continue to spend money on research to advance therapies. Those early HIV meds would never have been discovered were it not for patent protection. I don't know what the solution is- with something like HIV, you want everyone that needs it to have access to the meds. But you also want companies to keep working on improving on the meds that are already out there. How to do both together is tricky, and if you have the answer, I hope you're working in infectious diseases or public health somewhere.

The alien is soft-shoeing again. I'm going to try to drown him with water. If that doesn't work out, I might have to switch to more potent potables (suck it, Trebek).

p.s. I caught some of the RnR Hall of Fame where U2 was inducted. Before I knock them, I will say that Until the end of the world is my fave Achtung Baby song, so I thought it a cool choice to perform. Apologies to die-hard fans: Bono has officially jumped the shark. Based on his behavior, I expect to see him in a seedy Vegas lounge any day now. He's become the caricature of himself. Watching it, I felt rather badly for the Edge and Larry Mullins (who has definitely made some kind of deal with the underworld- dude doesn't look like he has aged in the slightest). Not so much for the other guy, because I always forget who he even is.

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