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The largest pharmaceutical companies present themselves as non-profit helpers in developing countries. However, the reality is different, as shown by a report by the NGO "Access to Medicine".
Medical care in developing countries
Every second year, scientists from the "Access to Medicine" organization examine how the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies in the world take care of medical care for developing countries. The current result is sobering.
No help for the biggest problems
The 2018 report is negative for the majority of the largest corporations. They would have expanded aid programs and launched new drugs on the market and dealt with cheaper prices. But only five of the 20 pharmaceutical giants are currently developing drugs that the poorest countries absolutely need.
Four groups deliver 63 percent of all projects
Only four of the twenty companies operated 63 percent of all projects to improve medical care in developing countries. These are primarily the British company GlaxoSmithKline, then Johnson & Johnson, Novartis from Switzerland, the German family company Merck and the Sanofi group from France. They invested the most in the development of important medicines.
Jayasree Iyer, the managing director of "Access to Medicine", sees it as a problem that research on crucial medicines is only in the hands of so few companies. Even if only one of these companies were to fail, this would have serious consequences.
Focus on five diseases
Half of the research only targets five diseases: malaria, AIDS, tuberculosis, leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. These are considered the most common diseases in poor countries and therefore find international donors, according to "Access to Medicine".
No medication for less common epidemics
The focus on the five most widespread diseases obscures the fact that dangerous pathogens cannot be combated to this day. So there is still no antidote to tick-borne Crimean-Congo fever. Even the Zika virus or Nipah infections were hardly researched. Nobody knows how quickly such epidemics can spread.
Where do the German companies stand?
The family company Merck is still the best - it came in fourth among the twenty companies. Boehringer Ingelheim is in fourth place. Bayer, the largest pharmaceutical company in Germany, slipped four places and is now in 16th place (Dr. Utz Anhalt)