Friday, June 13, 2008

The Curse of the Floppy Penises

A Western floppy penis is more valuable than preventing blindness in an African eye (see neglected diseases). This is part of the story in the video of the launch of "The Health Commons". The video talks about how hundreds of thousands of people go blind from "river blindness". It has very little value associated with it and drug companies focus on more valuable drugs to do with baldness and erectile disfunction. The video goes on to talk about how the network changes things and how there's a lack of process change in science to take advantage of these effects. If you can leverage network effects then this hopefully reduces the cost of drug discovery making drug development in less valuable diseases viable. The white paper covers some more of this in detail.

It also talks about an idea that I've often thought of as useful - the collection of failed experiments, "This deeply set inability to capture collective learning dooms everyone to revisit infinitely many blind alleys. The currency of scientific publication encourages individual scientists to hoard rather than share data that they will never have the time or resources to exhaustively mine. And, the wealth of “negative” information gleaned from clinical trial data is mostly lost to the need for companies to safeguard their commercial investments."

The general idea seems to share and standardize all aspects of research and science.
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