Whenever medication is prescribed to you by a doctor or sold to you over-the-counter, almost every substance you ingest, inhale or inject will have a long and tangled history behind it. This wide-ranging discussion asks if medical science and clinical knowledge demands a more strategic approach than the current dependence on profit-seeking big pharma and the bean-counting paternalism of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). Is it time to invest in a public vision for pharmaceuticals that prioritises medical R&D to improve clinical treatment over patenting healing compounds? Filmed at the Battle of Ideas Festival.
Sandy Starr is Communications Officer at the Progress Educational Trust, a registered charity that works to create an environment in which research and practice in genetics and assisted reproduction will thrive.
Most recently he has been concerned with the consequences for biomedicine of the UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, and has coordinated strategy among individuals and organisations with an interest in this far-reaching legislation.
Previously he researched and wrote on science, technology and culture for the current affairs publication spiked; consulted and spoke on intellectual property for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and for the European Commission research project RightsWatch; reviewed films for The Sun newspaper's TV Mag; and contributed chapters on regulation and law to five books. He is an evangelist for the view that political, scientific and cultural endeavor can if permitted to transform humanity's circumstances for the better.