Western drug cos ignore developing countries

Ulhas Joglekar ulhasj at SPAMbom4.vsnl.net.in
Sun Nov 5 19:35:04 MST 2000


Monday
30 October 2000

Western drug cos ignore developing countries
LONDON: Britain's aid minister Clare Short has admitted that Western
pharmaceutical companies spend little on research into diseases that affect
an overwhelming majority of the world's population in developing nations.
"It has long been known that only a small part of spending by Western
pharmaceutical giants go on research into diseases affecting most of the
world's population with money instead being spent on drug research which
will bring huge financial profits," Short said.
Global drug companies cite poor return on investement and lack of potential
markets as the reason for them not putting money into devising cures for
diseases that kill millions in Asian and African countries.
"Both governments and the industry itself need to recognise that this is
both a short-sighted and selfish approach," Short said, urging better
incentives to the industry to increase its investment into diseases like
malaria.
Short said tax rebates should be given for drug development in the
developing world as well as for pursuing public or private partnerships to
generate resources for tackling disease.
Western manufacturers should also voluntarily licence patented products to
local manufacturers in developing countries, Short suggested.
"To protect themselves and their children, the priviledged need to ensure
that the neediest are reached," Short said.(Agencies)
For reprint rights:Times Syndication Service
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