The Instigator
Con (against)
5 Points
The Contender
Pro (for)
0 Points

Medicines Should Be Made Free

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/2/2016 Category: Science
Updated: 5 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 484 times Debate No: 90505
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (7)
Votes (1)




Resolved: Medicines Should Be Made Free

I am Con, so Pro should start the argument first.



The term 'medicine' means a drug or other preparation for the treatment or prevention of disease.

This might seem like an abstract problem until you need to get medicine for your dying child. Perhaps your child is seriously ill because of a preventable illness; the medicine he/she needs is 2-3 hours away by foot; when you get there, there's no guarantee that the clinic will be open or have anything in stock. And even if you could get to the clinic and everything was available, how are you going to pay for it?

Thousands of people in the rural areas of Nicaragua face this problem on a daily basis. One proposal suggests that community health workers (promoters) could receive a portion of the medicine fee for each prescription. In practice, this leads to extremely negative trends, as promoters are tempted to over-prescribe medications to get more money, and only the wealthiest members of the community could afford them. On top of all this, the poorest of the poor no longer have access to medicine.
Obviously the best option here is to supply the medicines for free.

Prescription drugs
Prescription drugs are a major component of the overall cost of caring for the elderly. By some reports, persons sixty-five and older spend an average of over three percent of their income on prescription drugs. That percentage is even higher when over-the-counter medications are included. Reports show that more than 53.26% of senior citizens are below the poverty line.This means that over half of the senior citizens are not financially well-off.
Cancer,heart and respiratory diseases and diabetes are the most common and killer diseases among senior citizens.Treating these diseases cost a lot of money ad again ,the best option here is to give away those medicines for free.
Hence, I believe that medicines should be made free.
Debate Round No. 1


1. Introduction

In today’s world, medicines have literally become part of our daily lives. Due to the push of supply and the pull of demand, researchers and public health organisation alike classify more and more common conditions as “diseases”, as the population is ready to take any type of medicines for their cure from these conditions. Improvements in the field of medicine are taking place and extensive research being conducted. The topic of the debate is “Medicines Should Be Made Free”, therefore, the burden of Pro is to show that medicines should be made free at any cost, as “should” is a synonym for ‘duty’ or ’ absolute necessity’, whereas, the burden of Con is to show that it is not "absolute necessity” and to highlight the appalling consequences if such actions were to take place. The whole argument is about whether or not customers like you and me should pay for the medicines we get.

The argument that "medicines should be given free" is unsustainable and are utopian dreams of a pied piper.

2. Research

The Pharmaceutical industry is constantly in the search for new and better therapies, and have developed various molecules that has revolutionised modern medicine. The Pharmaceutical industry is one of the most innovative industries in the world today. Pharmaceutical organisations play a pivotal role in promoting the field of research, especially during the outbreaks of deadly epidemics like Ebola, H1N1 etc.

One of the major factors that plays an important role in promoting research is money. Money is crucial in this field, as it is in almost any conceivable venture. It is pertinent to note the words of Chancellor of USFC, that the cost of developing new drugs is simply “crazy”; because if a country needs to sell at least one drug in the market, the funds required are upwards of 350-400 million dollars. She says that the “Pharmaceutical industry is not one where anybody can make profits”. It requires major funding, patience and loads of luck to hit upon an efficacious drug.

Then where does one expect to fund the pharmaceutical industry? Two common sources are the donors (NGOs) and the customers (pull of demand by the end users). If the pull of demand is cut off by the seemingly ideal plan of doling out medicines free, the research efforts of Pharmaceutical companies is sure to falter. We can’t expect donors to keep paying tons of cash for the Pharmaceutical industry. There is a limit for anything that comes free. Or have'nt we heard the saying "There is nothing called free lunch!!"

Therefore, without adequate compensation by the end users, it neither probable for good vaccinations, drugs and other medicines to be created nor improvisations possible. So, making medicines free is suicidal to both the population and the pharmaceutical industry.



Medicines are and continue to be one of the most important necessities(next to oxygen,food and water,clothing and shelter). Everyone has the right to get good quality medicines.If a poor man is sick,he cannot remain sick.He has to be treated.So,this man should have the right to avail medicines free of cost.Now,the Contender might argue that there is no thing as"free lunch". But, we still do get good quality medicines free of cost.Also,it is the governments duty to give medicines free of cost as it is an absolute necessity. Here is a list of hospitals (in Chennai) that provide medicines free of cost and still mint money.
1. Hindu Mission Hospital
The hospital"s services include projects such as "Narayana Seva", "Bhakta Jana Seva", "Annalakshmi", the Free Artificial Limb Centre and the Kidney Care Endowment. These free intensive camps are regularly conducted in rural areas on different days of the week. The hospital also provides treatment and medications at free of cost.

2. AMS Dr. Durgabai Deshmukh Hospital
This hospital conducts free camps twice a month, providing diagnosis and treatment facilities, vaccines for women and children. Also, outreach vans are sent out to slums to provide treatment at the doorstep. This hospital also facilitates delivery and caesarian operations for poor women free of cost. It also conducts eye camps free of cost and underprivileged patients can avail free services for in-patient treatment!

3. Adyar Cancer Institute
Founded in 1954 by Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy, the Adyar Cancer Institute is a top ranking cancer institute in India according to the World Health Department (WHO). It was the first institute in India which received the Cobalt-60 Therapy Unit for cancer treatment. The hospital provides free treatment to the financially poor segment of the society which makes up to around 63% of the patients.

4. Shri ISARI Velan Mission Hospital
This hospital provides people with free vaccination for life threatening diseases and other services for the economically marginal sections of the society.

5. Institute of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Hospital for Women and Children
This hospital, exclusively for women and children provides free dental, eye care, and pediatric services free of cost to the disadvantaged sections of the society.

6. Government Royapettah Hospital
One among the most popular hospitals in Chennai, the Government Royapettah hospital provides treatment for accidents, emergencies, burns, cardiology, ENT, and general medicine free of cost for the poor.

7. Southern Railway Hospital
The hospital was originally intended to be a hospital for railway employees alone but now it treats the general public as well. Founded in 1928, the hospital provides treatment at affordable costs and HIV treatment and medicines are absolutely free of cost.

Hence,I believe that medicines should not be made free of cost.
Debate Round No. 2


1. Rebuttals
  • Pro always gives some examples of poor people suffering with disease and states the argument. But, the fact is that less than 10 percent of the world’s population is living in extreme poverty.[1] Pro is taking one extreme example and stating the arguments; and one should remember that the whole world cannot be painted with one single brush! So, essentially, Pro is wanting the remaining 90 percent to stop paying for medicines (even though they have the capacity to do so) for the 10 percent only, thus the field of research cannot be promoted.
  • Pro is simply neglecting and avoiding the simple fact that medicines can’t be improved or produced without there public paying for them! If the medicines aren’t produced, how does one expect to sell them? I repeat what I had written earlier, there is nothing called free lunch! Pro argued that we still get good quality medicines free of cost. Why? Because pharmaceutical industries charge their medicines and people like you and me pay for them. It is that simple.
  • Pro argues further, naming some hospitals in Chennai, which give medicines free of cost. Again, this argument is getting repetitive, these hospitals are even present in the first place because the people pay for their medication. Let us assume everyone is given medicines and medication free of cost. Do you think hospitals will ever persist in the future?

2.Huge Expenses and Salaries

The whole business of building hospitals costs a lot of money. It is not simple to build a hospitals and clinics in both cities and rural areas without having a lot of money. And to add to all these costs, there are millions of doctors and nurses to pay salaries for. The pharmaceutical industry is a big industry which makes both profits and losses each year. It makes a lot of medicines each year with its research which cost both sun and earth. Let’s make an analysis of the consequences which occur if medical care and medicines are made free. The pharmaceutical industry makes 300 billion dollars a year.[2] There are approximately 10 to 15 million doctors in the world [3], and there are roughly 2 nurses for every doctor, thus making about 35 million healthcare specialists across the world. And the salary for the doctors is roughly $200000 per doctor and nurse, annually.[4] That is 600 billion for paying just the doctors and nurses. And for building a hospital it costs 800 million per hospital in the world [5]; and since there are 16500 hospitals in the world [6], the cost for building these hospitals was totally 132 billion dollars, and one should not forget the money spent for maintaining them! And the cost for making a new drug is 350 million dollars.[7] Not to forget the iterations the researchers have to make in their drugs and the salaries for the researchers themselves, which costs a bomb. How are we getting this balance between the costs and providing medicines? By paying for them, will the pharmaceutical industries provide hospitals and other medications. I just can’t imagine the horrors and losses which will take place if medicines are made free for all.


Con says there can be no improvement in medicines without the public paying for them.Of course,there can be improvement in medicines and medicines can still be produced WITHOUT the pubic paying for them.('them' referring to medicines)

The hospitals can increase the treatment cost and supply the medicines for free and give the increased amount to the pharmaceutical companies,which in turn makes sure that these companies make new medicines.

I would like to remind Con that this debate is just about medicines being made free;not the treatment costs and medication.

I would like to sum up on what I had said earlier
1. Companies and hospitals can mint money and are making a lot of money even after giving medicines for free.
2.Basic medicines like the ones we take for fever, pain and cold should be given away for free to all the sections of society.
3.Medicines are are absolute necessity and should be given free of cost.
Hence medicines should be made free.
Debate Round No. 3


1. Rebuttals:
  • Firstly, there has been a very fundamental doubt in the topic of the debate itself, which I would like to clarify. In one of the rounds, Pro wants to “remind Con that this debate is just about medicines being made free; not about treatment costs or medication.” In fact, Pro has already given the definition of the term “medicine” in Google dictionary is "a drug or other preparation for the treatment or prevention of disease.” For curing some diseases, it takes more than just a tablet or syrup in order to cure the condition! It requires careful scanning, medication and treatment by using various other instruments or surgery. So, Pro’s arguments on saying treatment and medication is not in the realm of medicine simply does not make sense at all. This is very necessary because if Pro wants to make medicines free, this includes treatment costs as the topic is "Medicines Should Be Made Free.” Therefore Pro cannot make the cost of treatment rise as it would be contradictory to the debate topic.
  • Secondly, Pro states that "basic medicines” for cold, fever and pain should be made free. But, the topic is "Medicines Should Be Made Free” which means all medicines, be it treatments, medication, tablets and syrups for every disease should be made free. Making only basic medicines free is against the whole topic of the debate. I would like to rewrite the burdens of the debate for Pro, and her burden is to show that it is an absolute necessity to make every medicine free of cost.
  • Thirdly, pro states that pharmaceutical companies can still "mint money" if medicines are made free, but gives very little proof of such a type of event can actually occur. Again, I repeat, there won’t be any medicines to give if they are made free.
  • Last, but not the least, Pro states that medicines are absolute necessity, therefore it is prudent to give them free of cost. If we go by that logic, almost everything becomes an absolute necessity for us, therefore, should everything be given free of cost. A home, an absolute necessity for any individual, is not given free of cost, is it? Any person gets his/her reward for the amount of hard work and effort they put in. The elders say: "There is nothing called free lunch.” But I would like to rephrase, "There is nothing called demand for free lunch” either!
2. Misuse

In the 20th and 21st century, misuse of drugs has been prevalent. There has been misuse of drugs in many fields, including sports and academics. There are a number of addictive drugs in both markets and black markets which allows any person to misuse these drugs. Even though these drugs were made for the benefit of the population, they are mainly being used today for the addiction of the population! Finally, all these addictions are psychological, a person always does a careful cost benefit analysis before misusing the drug, and once misused out of curiosity, it becomes a dirty habit hard to get rid of. I believe that the cost of these illegal drugs plays an important role in preventing the population for misusing the drug. There are a number of fools out there who misuse these drugs regardless of the cost, but there even few of them who take the cost into consideration. Fear for both the consequences and cost plays a major role in ruling out the curiosity in their mind while performing a cost benefit analysis for a lot of people, finally taking the decision not to misuse the drugs. If medicines are made free, then the cost (money) part of the analysis gets ruled out, curiosity being more favourable than fear, a large amount of the population can misuse the drugs if they get the chance. Therefore, more bans on illegal drugs will be imposed, which are futile because, anyway, the drugs are free, thus gangs and drug lords will supply drugs more easily to the population.

I believe we must work hard enough so that we can get all our treasures and rewards. In a nutshell, this debate is comprehensive to many fields in today’s world, and opposes Pro's statements in each field. The debate is itself a subject of morality, where the people who work hard succeed and secure their future and health and the lazy fail to do so. Apart from this, this debate is also economically and scientifically connected, highlighting the consequences when no research, payment of salaries and distribution of medication can take place when there is an economic deficiency. Lastly, this debate is related to the psychology of the human mind to or not misuse drugs.

Therefore, for these reasons, vote Con.



That was a fun debate!
Debate Round No. 4
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by nikhilworld123 5 months ago
Thanks Tej, for voting the debate.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago

== Pro's Case ==

Pro's case is, quite simply, that medicines are an absolute necessity and making people pay for such necessities is a violation of rights. She continues to argue that there are people with a certain level of poverty that can't afford medicines, and so charging for drugs could violate their right to good health or life. I'll also note that Pro plagiarizes her opening argument from a website I've already linked in the comments section, which is a conduct violation. This also means, in the event of a tie, I'll vote her down because her case was illegitimate.

Con's response is that only 10% of the population lives in poverty, and it's possible to give free medicines to those 10% alone. Con correctly states that Pro is expecting free drugs to be given to the other 90% to fulfill the needs of a few people alone. Con also shows that there are a lot of things that are "absolutely necessary," but for the market to work, they are charged at a price. Pro drops all of Con's responses.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago
== Con's Case ==

Con argues two things. First, Con argues that the prices of medicines are required for pharmaceutical research. Second, he argues that there are a lot of costs that pharmaceutical companies have to make drugs (and he also says something about hospital costs, which are irrelevant because the money from medicines goes to pharmaceutical companies), and those costs have to be fulfilled.

Pro's response to both of these is that hospitals can increase charge of treatment, et cetera, thus allowing medicines to be made free. This is an absurd response, because (1) it undermines her whole cases, because treatment is also an absolute necessity, and (2) it's essentially a concession, since medicines are sold to hospitals by pharmaceutical companies, so medicines aren't "free" under that argument. But Con chooses not to attack by either of these responses, and instead says treatment is a part of "medicines," which is obviously nonsense because it goes against the very definition of what a "medicine" is.

Still, based on the second point, I buy Con's case because increasing treatment costs is similarly an under-explained advocacy that would still mean medicines aren't truly "free," so Pro is essentially changing her case.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago
== Conclusion ==

This was a bad debate. Con clearly had much better structure, a better sourcing format and stronger attacks to the rebuttals, and Con's offense -- barely -- still stands because of the costs of research that hospitals can't pay for (Pro doesn't explain how that would be done). Con's strongest point is probably the "misuse" one, but that's a new argument in the final round, so it can't be counted. Note: present all offense in the first round of argumentation, so it has a much better structure.

Pro's offense is explicitly contradicted by her own responses, is partially plagiarized and is significantly mitigated by Con's responses. The only remaining impact, the "necessity" of medicines, is outweighed by the cost of research and the necessity of treatment itself (which is the contradiction). I still feel Con should have hit harder on the responses, specifically the two points I noted above, since it seems like Con merely wins by an inch, barely on the arguments, and on the plagiarism (which would even allow me to discredit Pro's R1). Thus, I vote Con.

Con wins sources for three separate reasons. First, Con has a much better sourcing format. Pro uses a single source, which is mostly irrelevant to the resolution, and Con actually sources each assertion of theirs, while Pro merely uses a source as an extension of an argument rather than as a warrant. Second, Pro copy/pastes two entire rounds directly from the source (except a few sentences) without quotes, and, in the first round, without citation either. Con extensively cites all necessary sources to back every assertion of theirs. Third, Con's sources contribute significantly to their victory, because Pro has multiple bare assertions, while all of Con's assertions are backed up by extensive citations.
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago
Pro: please post "no round as agreed" in the final round.
Posted by nikhilworld123 5 months ago
After Con has stated the arguments in round 4, the debate is over because both Pro and Con had equal rounds to state their arguments (3 rounds each)
Posted by tejretics 5 months ago

Plagiarism? ( Please write your own arguments.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by tejretics 5 months ago
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Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments