Katherine Eban A dose of reality about generic drugs
Investigative journalist Katherine Eban set out to report on a seemingly straightforward question: Are generic drugs really identical to their brand-name counterparts? The answer sparked a decade of interviews, meetings with whistleblowers, on-the-ground reporting across four continents and digging into confidential FDA documents. In this alarming talk, she takes us inside overseas manufacturing plants and exposes the fraud behind many low-cost generic medicines.
Priti Krishtel Why are drug prices so high? Investigating the outdated US patent system
Between 2006 and 2016, the number of drug patents granted in the United States doubled — but not because there was an explosion in invention or innovation. Drug companies have learned how to game the system, accumulating patents not for new medicines but for small changes to existing ones, which allows them to build monopolies, block competition and drive prices up. Health justice lawyer Priti Krishtel sheds light on how we've lost sight of the patent system's original intent — and offers five reforms for a redesign that would serve the public and save lives.
Ben Goldacre What doctors don't know about the drugs they prescribe
When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world — except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.
Alyson McGregor Why medicine often has dangerous side effects for women
You might not know this: Many of the medicines we take — common drugs like Ambien and everyday aspirin — were only ever tested on men. And the unknown side effects for women can be dangerous, even deadly. Alyson McGregor studies the differences between male and female patients; in this fascinating talk she explains how the male model became our framework for medical research ... and what women and men need to ask their doctors to get the right care for their bodies.
Keolu Fox Why genetic research must be more diverse
Ninety-six percent of genome studies are based on people of European descent. The rest of the world is virtually unrepresented — and this is dangerous, says geneticist and TED Fellow Keolu Fox, because we react to drugs differently based on our genetic makeup. Fox is working to democratize genome sequencing, specifically by advocating for indigenous populations to get involved in research, with the goal of eliminating health disparities. "The research community needs to immerse itself in indigenous culture," he says, "or die trying."
Russ Altman What really happens when you mix medications?
If you take two different medications for two different reasons, here's a sobering thought: your doctor may not fully understand what happens when they're combined, because drug interactions are incredibly hard to study. In this fascinating and accessible talk, Russ Altman shows how doctors are studying unexpected drug interactions using a surprising resource: search engine queries.
Dorothy Roberts The problem with race-based medicine
Social justice advocate and law scholar Dorothy Roberts has a precise and powerful message: Race-based medicine is bad medicine. Even today, many doctors still use race as a medical shortcut; they make important decisions about things like pain tolerance based on a patient's skin color instead of medical observation and measurement. In this searing talk, Roberts lays out the lingering traces of race-based medicine — and invites us to be a part of ending it. "It is more urgent than ever to finally abandon this backward legacy," she says, "and to affirm our common humanity by ending the social inequalities that truly divide us."
Seth Berkley The troubling reason why vaccines are made too late ... if they're made at all
It seems like we wait for a disastrous disease outbreak before we get serious about making a vaccine for it. Seth Berkley lays out the market realities and unbalanced risks behind why we aren't making vaccines for the world's biggest diseases.
Romina Libster The power of herd immunity
How do vaccines prevent disease — even among people too young to get vaccinated? It's a concept called "herd immunity," and it relies on a critical mass of people getting their shots to break the chain of infection. Health researcher Romina Libster shows how herd immunity contained a deadly outbreak of H1N1 in her hometown. (In Spanish with English subtitles)
Francis Collins We need better drugs — now
Today we know the molecular cause of 4,000 diseases, but treatments are available for only 250 of them. So what's taking so long? Geneticist and physician Francis Collins explains why systematic drug discovery is imperative, even for rare and complex diseases, and offers a few solutions — like teaching old drugs new tricks.