Monday, 30 July 2018

DIY Medication!!

       Something anarchists should always remember, "great oak trees from little acorns grow". Your little project, could catch on and become a mighty oak tree. One such little acorn that I dearly hope will grow into a mighty oak tree is the project being built by a group called Four Thieves Vinegar Collective. This valiant little group are taking on the giant pharmaceutical companies, the large beast that prompts itself as the saviour of lives and curer of disease, but at a price. Big Pharma makes billions from your ill health, and other mental and physical problems, but first and foremost, makes sure that it keeps its shareholders fat at your expense. When a giant like our NHS can state that some drugs are too expensive, then you know that you are being ripped-off.
        Making medication cheap and easily accessible must be applauded and pursued, anything that can short circuit the pharmaceutical giants and their greed driven overriding desire for profits must be encouraged.   
       Please read the full article and share as widely as possible, let this little acorn grow into a mighty oak tree

 Michael Laufer with the $30 DIY “epipencil”. Image: Four Thieves Vinegar Collective
     I met Laufer at a bar across the street from HOPE after he finished his talk on DIY medicine. He was meeting with his Four Thieves collaborators who had flown in from all over the country to attend the conference and unveil the new medical technologies under development by the collective. Laufer kicked off the celebration with a toast.
       “A toast to the dead, for children with cancer and AIDS,” Laufer said, raising a glass of bourbon and quoting the hip hop artist Felipe Andres Coronel, better known as Immortal Technique. “A cure exists, and you probably could have been saved.”
       In the last decade, Four Thieves has run afoul of the Food and Drug Administration, billionaire pharma executives, doctors, and chemists at some of the United States’ most prestigious universities. Indeed, Laufer and his collaborators can’t stop pissing off powerful people because Four Thieves is living proof that effective medicines can be developed on a budget outside of institutional channels.
          At the pharmacy, a pair of single use Mylan epipens can cost over $600 and the company’s generic version costs $300 per pair, but an ongoing shortage means you probably can’t find them, even if you can afford them. In response, Four Thieves published the instructions for a DIY epipen online that can be made for $30 in off-the-shelf parts and reloaded for $3. Shkreli drove the price of the lifesaving HIV medicine Daraprim sells up to $750 per pill. So Four Thieves developed an open source portable chemistry lab that allows anyone to manufacture their own Daraprim for just 25 cents apiece.
         The pharmaceutical industry is valued at $446 billion in the US and its walls are tightly policed by regulatory agencies like the FDA and Drug Enforcement Administration. By freely distributing plans for medical devices and pharmaceuticals, a loose collective of anarchists and hackers is threatening to pull the rug out from under one of the most regulated and profitable industries in the world. And they’re just getting started. 
           Four Thieves claims to have successfully synthesized five different kinds of pharmaceuticals, all of which were made using MicroLab. The device attempts to mimic an expensive machine usually only found in chemistry laboratories for a fraction of the price using readily available off-the-shelf parts. In the case of the MicroLab, the reaction chambers consist of a small mason jar mounted inside a larger mason jar with a 3D-printed lid whose printing instructions are available online. A few small plastic hoses and a thermistor to measure temperature are then attached through the lid to circulate fluids through the contraption to induce the chemical reactions necessary to manufacture various medicines. The whole process is automated using a small computer that costs about $30.
          To date, Four Thieves has used the device to produce homemade Naloxone, a drug used to prevent opiate overdoses better known as Narcan; Daraprim, a drug that treats infections in people with HIV; Cabotegravir, a preventative HIV medicine that may only need to be taken four times per year; and mifepristone and misoprostol, two chemicals needed for pharmaceutical abortions.
Please read the full article HERE, and share widely
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