Ian Lance Taylor

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Medical researchers agree that the best way to see whether drugs are really effective is large-scale double-blind testing, which is expensive. Most such drug testing these days is paid for by drug companies. Naturally, they tend to test their new, expensive, patented drugs. There are relatively few tests run on old, cheap drugs with expired patents or no patents, even when those drugs might have interesting new uses that could help lots of people. It's pretty obvious that there is a potential conflict of interest between drug manufacturers and public health. It's less obvious how to resolve it. The present resolution is not quite putting the fox in charge of the hen-house - but it's pretty close. Why am I writing this in a magazine about Linux? To remind you that there is a potential conflict of interest between business and society, and to talk about how that conflic... (more)