Research into new medicines and treatments is essential. Should this research be paid for by private companies or by the government?
The battle against illness and disease is a constant one. Incredibly costly long-term research has to be undertaken in order to produce the next generation of drugs, which will combat the viruses, infections and superbugs of the future. The question of who should carry out and fund this research is often debated. I believe that the only sensible approach is a two-pronged strategy, including both private finance and taxpayers’ money.
It makes an enormous amount of sense for the powerful pharmaceutical multi-national conglomerates to be involved. They own laboratories with cutting-edge technology and employ gifted scientists and leading experts in relevant fields. These organizations benefit from literally decades of expertise and have a tremendous incentive to succeed: profit. It may well be that cures for cancer or diabetes are discovered by one of these corporations, leading to an increase in life expectancy and life quality.
However, it must be pointed out that these large firms will only invest in projects when there is a realistic expectation of making money. Therefore, it is essential that the state funds some investigations. Large firms calculate that the financial rewards for developing a cure for malaria, for instance, would be negligible because it is a disease which principally affects poorer members of society who cannot pay for expensive medicines. Thus state-run or even international bodies have to step in. Similarly, only governments are able to invest the almost limitless amounts of time and money necessary for research into some of the most complex diseases. Shareholders in major companies refuse to take such a risk.
As can be seen from the preceding paragraphs, the issue of how to produce the medicines and techniques needed to deal with major diseases is a complicated one. However, there is room for optimism. Politicians and chief executives of multinational companies should be able to collaborate in the fight against serious illnesses.
- superbugs = a type of bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotic drugs
- a two-pronged strategy = a plan that involves two ways of dealing with the problem
- conglomerates = a company that owns several smaller businesses whose products or services are usually very different
- cutting-edge technology = technological devices, techniques or achievements that employ the most current and high-level IT developments
- gifted = talented
- negligible = so small or unimportant as to be not worth considering; insignificant
- principally = mainly
- preceding = coming before
- there is room for optimism = there is hope
IELTS Writing Tip:
Many IELTS Writing Task 2 questions ask you to consider whether it is the government's, private companies or individuals' responsibility to tackle an issue. It is often easier to state that it is both because then you can write a paragraph about the government and one about individuals/private companies. This is a useful phrase for doing this: I believe that the only sensible approach is a two-pronged strategy... You need to make it relevant to the essay and not just use this as a sentence because IELTS examiners don't like memorised sentences that you could use in any essay so finish the sentence with a link to the essay title.