Prescription for the People: An Activist's Guide to Making Medicine Affordable for All

Prescription for the People: An Activist's Guide to Making Medicine Affordable for All

by Fran Quigley


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In Prescription for the People, Fran Quigley diagnoses our inability to get medicines to the people who need them and then prescribes the cure. He delivers a clear and convincing argument for a complete shift in the global and U.S. approach to developing and providing essential medicines—and a primer on how to make that change happen.

Globally, 10 million people die each year because they are unable to pay for medicines that would save them. The cost of prescription drugs is bankrupting families and putting a strain on state and federal budgets. Patients’ desperate need for affordable medicines clashes with the core business model of the powerful pharmaceutical industry, which maximizes profits whenever possible. It doesn’t have to be this way. Patients and activists are aiming to make all essential medicines affordable by reclaiming medicines as a public good and a human right, instead of a profit-making commodity. In this book, Quigley demystifies statistics and terminology, offers solutions to the problems that block universal access to medicines, and provides a road map for activists wanting to make those solutions a reality.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501713750
Publisher: Cornell University Press
Publication date: 11/15/2017
Series: The Culture and Politics of Health Care Work
Pages: 260
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Fran Quigley is Clinical Professor and Director of the Health and Human Rights Clinic at Indiana University McKinney School of Law. He is the author of If We Can Win Here, also from Cornell, How Human Rights Can Build Haiti, and Walking Together, Walking Far. He is the cofounder of People of Faith for Access to Medicines, pfamrx.org.

Table of Contents

Part I
1. People Everywhere Are Struggling to Get the Medicines They Need
2. The United States Has a Drug Problem
3. Millions of People Are Dying Needlessly
4. Cancer Patients Face Particularly Deadly Barriers to Medicines
5. The Current Medicine System Neglects Many Major Diseases
Part II
6. Corporate Research and Development Investments Are Exaggerated
7. The Current System Wastes Billions on Drug Marketing
8. The Current System Compromises Physician Integrity and Leads to Unethical Corporate Behavior
9. Medicines Are Priced at Whatever the Market Will Bear
10. Pharmaceutical Corporations Reap History-Making Pro ts
Part III
11. The For-Profit Medicine Arguments Are Patently False
12. Medicine Patents Are Extended Too Far and Too Wide
13. Patent Protectionism Stunts the Development of New Medicines
14. Governments, Not Private Corporations, Drive Medicine Innovation
15. Taxpayers and Patients Pay Twice for Patented Medicines
Part IV
16. Medicines Are a Public Good
17. Medicine Patents Are Arti cial, Recent, and Government-Created
18. The United States and Big Pharma Play the Bully in Extending Patents
19. Pharma-Pushed Trade Agreements Steal the Power of Democratically Elected Governments
Part V
20. Current Law Provides Opportunities for Affordable Generic Medicines
21. There Is a Better Way to Develop Medicines
22. Human Rights Law Demands Access to Essential Medicines

What People are Saying About This

David Mitchell

"Fran Quigley’s thoughtful and accessible new book reveals the hard truths about our corrupt prescription drug system. He shows an industry that claims to develop life-saving drugs but is content to let patients die if they can’t afford them. He documents billions wasted on drug marketing and how little drug corporations spend on research and innovation. And he offers useful suggestions to fight back—to channel our anger and to stand up for ourselves, the people we love, and those all over the world who are dying because medicines are not affordable. As a cancer patient, I’d recommend this book to anyone eager to learn more about how to beat big pharma, the PBMs and a system that is failing millions of us."

Peter Maybarduk

"Prescription for the People will become essential reading for understanding the global access to medicines movement and its teachings. Fran Quigley’s reporting is rooted in the personal stories of individuals struggling to survive illnesses that can afflict any of us; churning against the machinations of treatment rationing. He expertly shrinks the rules and rationales of pharma economics and global trade to a concise and just book. Quigley celebrates smart resistance and shows how a social movement overcame the monopoly power of one of the world’s most powerful industries, to save millions of lives and change the future. Prescription for the People will be among the first items I pull from our shelf to share with new and prospective colleagues the world over."

RoseAnn DeMoro

"Prescription for the People details the human cost of market-driven medicine and illustrates how the global movement for health justice and access to medicine can shift the balance of power and make a powerful case for reclaiming medicines as public goods."

Rachel Kiddell-Monroe

"Prescription for the People is refreshing in its ability to clearly, concisely and convincingly lay out the arguments about the causes and impacts of the structural barriers to access to medicines. Quigley has a very clear-eyed vision of what we need to do, and I love the human stories that weave through his book."

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