“Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person” according to Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Does the right to life include the right to maintain life through universal access to healthcare? Does the security of the person include medical treatment through universal access to health care selecting the treatment of one’s choice?
What if the preferred treatment includes a dietary supplement made from a tree bark available only in small quantities, where universal access is just physically impossible? Is it a luxury or a right?

medicine_expensive_healthcare_pharmaceuticalsAny quality product, available in small quantities and subjected to high expertise and advanced quality control, is indeed considered inherently a luxury product. Plant-based dietary supplements, which are only available in small quantities, are no exception.

However we must distinguish between the actual price of a rare natural product, and the inflated price of some synthetic drugs, which can only be rationalized by the greed of the pharmaceutical companies.

Dimethyl fumarate, a molecule used as a fungicide since the 1950s, is considered beneficial for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Mr. Ballinari, a Swiss pharmacist in Bern, manufactures this molecule in the back room of his shop and charges the patient 2500 euros a year for this treatment. The British firm Biogen Idec manufactures the same molecule under the name Tecfidera and charges the patient 30000 euros a year. (I wish Mr. Ballinari good luck).
Sovaldi the new product for the treatment of hepatitis C, is sold by Gilead at a price 280 times its cost (The $1,000 pill)!

Reimbursed by government and/or health insurance, access to these products at astronomically exaggerated prices is no longer a luxury, but becomes a right.

Nevertheless, in my opinion, it is still a scam…