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Bill Gates says pharmaceutical companies are failing the poor

January 27, 2006
Bill Gates says that Pharmaceutical companies are failing poor countries
'The amount of deaths from these diseases in the rich world is small, so there is no market to do it (develop vaccines),' Gates said during a discussion on forgotten illnesses. 'Millions of people die because of pneumonia and diarrhoea, but nothing has happened because they're killing people in poor countries,' he continued.

Pneumonia kills four million annually, more then the HIV/AIDS death rate, while diarrhoea kills around 2 million, mainly children. 'If we look at the amount of money and effort that went into producing anti-retroviral drugs (to manage HIV/AIDS) versus vaccines, it's a market failure,' said Gates. 'But then, it's hard to make a market model for a one-off treatment (vaccine) versus ongoing (anti- retroviral).'

According to Gates, whose foundation provides billions of dollars to worthy causes, pharmaceutical companies must do more, but they should be helped by philanthropic and government money.

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