FT Health: Sackler saga; health inequalities: Ebola meets again

Who says there is no mix between art and science? The dangerous dependence on prescription opioids is spreading far beyond the communities and clinics in the US and elsewhere where hundreds of thousands of people are being treated by addiction.

Policy makers and patients are turning to the courts to seek damages against Purdue Pharma, a manufacturer of OxyContin, a drug accused of fueling opioid addiction. Now the world of art is discussing more and more the role of the Sackler family, including members who fall into humanitarian fortune from Purdue.

Purdue and the Sacklers reject wrongdoing and underline the wider factors behind the opioid crisis, including illegal medicines not prescribed by doctors. But this week they paid $ 270m to support research and treatment of addicts in Oklahoma, and faced 1,000 legal cases from many US states including one filed in New York.

The Sackler Trust in the UK suspended its cultural and educational donations this week, after Tate and the National Portrait Gallery were among the leading institutions that would not accept additional gifts. Nan Goldin, a US artist, who previously convinced opioids for pain relief, has led a series of "guerilla actions" including "die-in" at the Guggenheim, with a greater probability. ahead.

If such actions help to deepen debate about the origins of the money allocated to philanthropy, they should also raise the concerns for a wider audience about the issue of addiction and encourage wider debate about the need for t a better and more innovative approach to prevention and treatment.

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Three questions

Mark Sullivan, founder and managing director of Medicines Development for Global Health.

What is the Development of Medicines for Global Health?

We are an Australian non-profit company in 2005 to develop affordable medicines and vaccines for those most in need. We were interested in tackling scabies, mite which is always common in indigenous communities. I thought it was wrong. I find health inequality.

What progress have you made?

As we look for potential compounds, we came across Moxidectin, which is a stellar compound with a long half-life. [in the body]. He received FDA approval last year for onchocerciasis and gave us a Priority Review Voucher [which can be sold to other drug developers to accelerate regulatory approval]. We will continue to research Moxidectin applications including scabies, soil transmission helminths and lymphatic filariasis.

How do you fund your work?

We have received a few grants, and hope that we can sell Moxidectin at a higher price in richer countries to treat scabies to help generate a double bottom line. [combining financial gain with social good]. We will sell the voucher and use some of the proceeds to repay support from the World Health Investment Fund.


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