Dana comes to the Democracy Collaborative with 15 years of experience in community organizing, project management and human rights advocacy. She has worked throughout the US, Latin America and the Middle East supporting communities organized in resistance to neoliberal economic reforms, imperialism and structural violence.
She joined the Democracy Collaborative in 2015 for the launch of the Next System Teach-Ins drawing on her experience with the Democracy Teach-Ins of the 90s and other popular education efforts related to the peace and social justice movements she has participated in for the last two decades.
Dana holds a B.A. in Sociology from Cornell University and a Masters in International Relations and Peace Studies from the Universidad del Salvador (Argentina). She has previously served as the Executive Director of the US Office on Colombia, the board chair of Peace Brigades International, and was a founding member of Witness Against Torture, a movement to shut down the detention center at Guantanamo Bay and end the use of torture and indefinite detention at all US-run facilities.
She owes her political education (and so much more) to the Catholic Worker and the liberation theology-inspired movements of Latin America.
Purdue Pharma, of OxyContin fame, has filed for bankruptcy. Now, we are to believe, the company is going to turn the billions of dollars they’ve made from aggressively pushing opioids—and downplaying their harms, and paying doctors to promote them, and lobbying against Congress to regulate them—toward healing communities from their impact. OK. But what if we decided to stop trusting for-profit companies with our health? We’ll talk about a public option for pharmaceuticals with Dana Brown, director of The Next System Project.
- Common Dreams
Any American who has paid the price of a patent-protected medicine knows the core flaw in the U.S. prescription drug system: our elected leaders have handed over control to profit-hungry corporations. And for-profit corporations gonna for-profit, as the kids would say. That is especially true when the corporations are gifted with long-term monopolies on life-essential medicines, which gives them the leverage to set take-it-or-leave it prices that net billions in revenue extracted from all of us. It doesn’t have to be this way. That is the message of an exciting new report, "Medicine for All: The Case for a Public Option in the Pharmaceutical Industry," by Dana Brown, director of the Next System Project of the organization Democracy Collaborative.
- Kaiser Health News
Stat: Insulin Shows Why We Need A Public Option In The Pharma Industry: When Frederick Banting, Charles Best, and James Collip filed for a U.S. patent on insulin in 1923 and sold it to the University of Toronto for $1 each, they did it because, as Best once said, “insulin belongs to the world. ”They also believed that securing the patent was a form of publication, and wrote to the university president, “When the details of the method of preparation are published anyone would be free to prepare the extract, but no one could secure a profitable monopoly. ”Sadly, they were mistaken." (Dana Brown and Elizabeth Pfiester, 9/10)
- New Republic
Under siege from thousands of lawsuits from federal, state, and local governments for its role in the deadly opioid addiction crisis, drug manufacturer Purdue Pharma reached a tentative settlement with some of the plaintiffs last week. In the deal, Purdue would transform itself through the bankruptcy process from a typical, profit-chasing drugmaker into a “public beneficiary company.” The proposition raises an important question: If plaintiffs are open to the idea of turning Purdue into a public trust run by appointees of a federal bankruptcy judge—one that would distribute its profits to state and local governments—why not take one more step? Why not create the beginnings of a network of public pharmaceutical companies like those that already exists in such countries as Sweden, Brazil, and Thailand?
The private pharmaceutical industry has every incentive to game the patent system, extract the highest prices it can, and delay the market entry of competitor drugs as long as possible. With the largest lobby in Washington and a well-oiled revolving door to its regulators — hello, Alex Azar! — large pharmaceutical companies have deftly evaded attempts to rein in their excesses. In addition to having potentially catastrophic effects on the lives of patients, profit-maximizing strategies responsible for these eye-watering price tags also result in differential pricing practices with discriminatory effects, unnecessary financial strain on the U.S. health care system, and contribute to growing corporate power over our democracy. But as one of us (D.B.) argues in a report released Tuesday, if we act now to institute a public option for pharmaceuticals, we could ensure that this terrible story is never repeated.