Some 100,000 people from around the world die from poisonous snake bites every year, 30,000 of them in sub-Saharan Africa. It has recently been reported in the journal Nature, that the humanitarian aid organisation Médecins Sans Frontières has sounded a serious warning about antivenom supplies.
The concern has been raised about the highly regarded antidote, Fav-Afrique. This is an effective treatment for bites from ten different species of snake across the sub-Saharan region. However, at up to $500 dollars to treat one person, It is much more expensive than competing products. Citing competitors selling cheaper (albeit less effective) alternatives in the region, the antivenom’s only producer recently halted production, with the last batch sold In January 2014.
While there has reportedly been some talk of transferring production to other suppliers, some have argued that the real issue is not a lack of pharmaceutical production. Johan Marais, who heads the African Snakebite Institute, argues that more pressing concerns are the lack of global distribution networks, and insufficient training for local doctors.
Medics should read up on snake bites, and look specifically at how Fav-Afrique works. Economists should look at the challenge of providing these expensive treatments to some of the poorest parts of the planet. Politics applicants may consider how international initiatives, such as subsidies from the World Health Organisation, might come about. Lawyers might want to think about the constraints that patents place on providing medical help to people, and explore the ethical questions behind them.
- PPE: answer like a pro If you’re applying for Politics, Philosophy and Economics (PPE) or... Read more >
- Geography and Earth Sciences Reading Lists Whether you’re looking at Geography, Earth Sciences (Geology), or Land... Read more >
- Physical, Mathematical & Chemical Sciences Reading Lists If you’re applying for Physics, Natural Sciences (P), Maths, Computer... Read more >
- Download a Medicine Personal Statement 2 “Further work experience has highlighted some of the demands and challenges... Read more >
- ELAT mini mock paper If you’re applying to read English at Oxford, you will... Read more >
- What’s so special about Oxford and Cambridge? Both Oxford and Cambridge have fearsome reputations. The Oxbridge system... Read more >
- Music Reading List Applying for Music at Cambridge or Oxford requires a range... Read more >
- MAT mini mock paper & answers If you are planning to apply to Oxford to read... Read more >
- What’s the Most Important Part of Your Application? An application to Oxford or Cambridge involves various different elements,... Read more >
- Philosophy Reading List If you are interested in Philosophy, there are several options... Read more >
- Download an Economics Personal Statement “I have a keen interest in current affairs but have... Read more >
- LNAT ‘So you want to go to Oxbridge’ Answers If you have been reading our book ‘So you want... Read more >
- Pooling: Fast Facts You may have heard people talk about “pooling”, or maybe... Read more >
- History Reading Lists The main challenge in the step up from school to... Read more >
- Download an English Personal Statement “My background as a student at a European School, including... Read more >
- Medical & Biological Sciences Reading Lists Medicine and the whole range of Biological Sciences are highly... Read more >
- Music Scholarships There is a wide range of musical scholarships available to... Read more >
- Download a History & English Personal Statement “Evidently reading is a major passion and Graham Greene has... Read more >
- PAT overview If you’re applying for Physics, Materials or a relevant joint... Read more >
- Oxbridge: the global impact Concerning UK university admissions, UCAS have released some interesting stats.... Read more >
- What makes a good interview? The notion of an academic interview with prominent Oxbridge academics is a major... Read more >
- MLAT mini mock paper & answers The MLAT or Modern Languages Test is required by Oxford... Read more >
- TSA Cambridge Example Questions and Answers If you have completed the TSA Cambridge course report and are... Read more >
- Interactive Interview Exercise Manual ‘What should I expect at my Oxbridge interview?’ ‘How will... Read more >