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Sawbones: Patents vs. Life-Saving Drugs

An illustration of two blue snakes twisting around a radius and ulna bone topped with a handsaw coming off either side to form a caduceus staff. The snake on the left is wearing a red dunce cap and the snake on the right is wearing a red graduation cap. The background is a pop art style red to blue fade. At the bottom of the image it says “Sawbones” with “A marital tour of misguided medicine” written below that.

John Green recently made a video asking Johnson & Johnson not to extend their patent on a tuberculosis drug, which would keep it exclusive and expensive. Dr. Sydnee and Justin talk about how drug patents work, the recent (good) update about bedaquiline specifically, and the next steps that pharmaceutical companies and the government need to make to keep life-saving drugs affordable. We’re back to classic Sawbones, keeping tabs on Big Pharma again.

Music: “Medicines” by The Taxpayers

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Transcript available here