The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Penicillin:
Collective Development

Dec 5, 2016

The first antibiotic, penicillin, was developed by surgeon Alexander Fleming in 1928. But, Dr. Fleming did not patent his discovery of one of the most critical drugs in human history, because he thought that all humanity should benefit from this discovery. Instead, he published his results so that other human beings could learn from him how to treat infections.

But no company wanted to produce penicillin, since it was not patented and, for this reason, its manufacture would not bring a company profits to make its owners rich. The British and U.S. governments later developed this first antibiotic during World War II, to treat wounds. Since then, this first antibiotic has saved millions of lives.

Companies need huge profits to develop drugs that treat our diseases. But we don’t need these companies to develop these drugs. Like the development of the first antibiotic proves, we can collectively develop antibiotics to improve our health.