Discussion games: Who pays to develop drugs?

Game to engage in a dialogue | How are drugs developed?

The process from carrying out research on a new drug until it is finally approved for sale in pharmacies is long, complex and requires considerable investment. This discussion game gives you the chance to talk over the ethical, legal and socioeconomic factors involved in the discovery and subsequent development of new drugs. These include such topics as pharmaceutical testing, investment in marketing and the effects of globalisation. You will also be asked to discuss a series of statements and situations regarding the cost of developing medicines and investment in rare illnesses.

How do we play this discussion game in the classroom? Students get into groups of 8 to 12 to discuss the issues on the cards and decide whether they "agree" or "disagree". At the end, the students have to put the cards in order from the ones they agree with most to the ones they agree with least. This order can then be compared between the different groups, which will open up the discussion to the rest of the group.

The game is intended to be played by people aged 15 to 21 and lasts around 60 to 90 minutes.

With bigger groups, this resource can be used for a free discussion on the topic; alternatively, formats in which students work more formally can be used. It can also be played in smaller groups.

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