No, this article is
not wishing a painful death upon financiers of infrastructure projects in
Australia – not least of all because
I am in finance myself.
The big question is what to do if
and when bird flu or H5N1 becomes a virus that can be spread from human to
human. As yet, there is no particular plan available from most governments
except promises of aggressive containment, use of the military, etc etc.
Needless to say, this is not doing a great deal to calm the public, who are
readily hoarding Tamiflu and Relenza.
If there is one way to calm down the
public at this point, it is showing them that the government of wherever has a
big bag of drugs and will distribute them to any and all takers if things get
The one hundred billion dollar
question: how do you produce a ton of drugs cheaply and distribute them to
government stockpiles without creating the first pharmaceutical debt crisis for
a disease that may or may not become a global pandemic?
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Roche offers this deal: it
licenses out the production to any and all generic drug makers on one condition:
none if it is sold. The governments of the countries who need to stockpile buy
all the production (which only they could preorder) and store it for such time
as a pandemic occurs.
The most important
feature in all of this is the financing.