“The Baby Lottery” Coming Soon to Poor Countries Around the World

Ropi via ZUMA

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I try not to go too far overboard in our communal loathing of pharmaceutical companies, but they sure do make it hard sometimes:

Novartis AG launched a lottery-style program to give away doses of its pricey gene therapy for free, drawing criticism from patient groups that say that is an inappropriate way to distribute a lifesaving treatment aimed at babies.

Zolgensma, a one-shot cure for a deadly inherited disease whose victims cannot control their muscles, is so far sold only in the U.S. at a price of $2.1 million, making it the world’s most expensive drug….Under the program, doctors can submit requests for the treatment, with eligible patients entered into a draw every two weeks for free doses. AveXis, the Novartis unit that makes the drug, said it aimed to distribute around 100 free doses a year as long as production capacity allows.

This is not just sort of like The Hunger Games, it’s pretty much exactly like The Hunger Games. A rich corporation draws names of babies out of a hat, and every two weeks a lucky baby from a poor country gets to live. Then the drudges all go back to work and dream about the next lottery. All that’s missing are the outlandish costumes.

Meanwhile, in the US there’s no lottery. Your baby lives if you or your insurance company is willing to shell out $2.1 million. That’s a lottery too, but not quite such an obvious one.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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