The mind boggling times we live in (“Pricey drugs push health burden up” in the Sept. 15 edition). On the one hand, we have people promising us a DNA revolution that can alter the code(s) of life, self-driving cars in the next 20 years, space travel, etc.

On the other hand, medical care is incredibly pricey for life-threatening and other debilitating health conditions and we have looming environmental issues that almost everyone is loathe to discuss.

This only goes to prove that good governance and leadership are more important than anything else and technology itself cannot solve all our problems. Don’t we need to rethink our priorities at this stage? I would rather live in a world that provides good and affordable medical care than be guaranteed a minimum income. I would prefer a system where we are all guaranteed the best medical care even when we cannot afford it; a system that allows us to get treatment first and pay later when necessary. Yes, we should be made to pay, of course, but later. Developed countries can outsource drug manufacturing to more cost-effective locations. Instead of outsourcing the manufacturing of smartphones and automobiles, outsourcing of drug manufacturing can reduce medical costs in countries like Japan.

To offset the economic and social imbalance of such a relationship, medical firms should be required to “give back” to the societies in the developing countries by supplying a significant amount of high-quality drugs at a reduced cost to the medical systems in those countries. There is a huge possibility of collaboration. For example, countries like India have a strong generic drug manufacturing system and an ever-growing supply chain. This would be a win-win situation. As the Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa pointed out, individual happiness cannot be guaranteed until everyone on this planet becomes happy.


The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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