The Lancet, [temporarily] seized by irony

The Lancet has just a launched a special collection on how epilepsy is a global health problem particularly in lower-income countries.

According to several of the articles, one of the key problems that drives the medical neglect of people with epilepsy is a lack of accurate information about the condition for health professionals and the public.

How ironic then that The Lancet have put the five key scientific review articles from the series behind a paywall – costing $31.50 each. That’s 157.50 dollars for all five.

According to the figures cited in special collection, in a low income country $157.50 dollars would pay for a year’s epilepsy treatment for up to 31 people (using the cheapest anti-epileptic drug phenobarbital).

In some countries in sub-Saharan Africa, $157.50 would pay the monthly salary of a dedicated epilepsy nurse.

Or you can pay for five Lancet review articles that provide not only accurate, evidence-based treatment recommendations for epilepsy but also lament the lack of freely available, accurate, evidence-based treatment recommendations for epilepsy.

UPDATE: The Lancet has announced that all articles are now freely available to anyone who completes the free registration on their site. Credit where credit’s due – an excellent move. Many thanks to them.


Link to Lancet special collection on epilepsy.

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