• Question: if you found a cure for some sort of disease would it be released or would the government keep the cure a secret so they could make money of off people getting surgery and medicine

    Asked by pass42gas to Sudhin, Sergio, Katie, Frances, Diarmuid, Aoife on 20 Nov 2019.
    • Photo: Diarmuid Kenny

      Diarmuid Kenny answered on 20 Nov 2019:

      It would be released. Far too many people involved in discovering drugs. It would be impossible for the government to hide it from the public.

    • Photo: Katie Fala

      Katie Fala answered on 20 Nov 2019:

      It depends, most diseases are overall a financial burden to the state/insurance companies so curing them, unless it were very very expensive, would definitely be a financial incentive. For instance, I am researching new kinds of drugs to help treat bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics, which is estimated to cause as much economic damage as the economic crash in 2008-2009. Routine surgery will be complicated because the antibiotics we use to prevent infections after operations/in hospital will no longer work, and people have to stay in hospital for longer and be prescribed longer and stronger antibiotics with more side effects. Also, I think that human nature/egoism would make it pretty impossible for people to keep such a cure a secret, aside from it being unethical. However, I’d agree that you have a point if we consider gene therapies. There are more and more examples of these effectively curing patients with genetic diseases by amending the faulty gene(s) – see spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) for an example – although they aren’t being kept secret – but there debate on how to make the technology available safely and to as many people as possible (needs clinical trials, which become super expensive due to cost of technology combined with the rarity of these diseases which means that the cost per patient skyrockets)