EXPERT: PROFIT-DRIVEN DRUG MAKERS IGNORED EBOLA EPIDEMIC

November 6, 2014 12:35 AM

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EXPERT: PROFIT-DRIVEN DRUG MAKERS IGNORED EBOLA EPIDEMIC

BRUSSELS — Money-minded pharmaceutical companies did not produce Ebola vaccines until profit was certain, an expert said on Tuesday. Ebola has killed at least 4,877 people since the beginning of February this year. Poor countries like Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have been the hardest hit with the more than 1,012 confirmed cases to date. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), the deadly virus has killed people in Africa since 1979, raising questions as to why clinicians have no vaccines and no cure despite years of research. "A profit-driven industry does not invest in products for markets that cannot pay," said Margaret Chan, director general of WHO in a speech on Oct. 13. "The outbreak highlights the dangers of the world's growing social and economic inequalities," Chan said. "The rich get the best care while the poor are left to die."

Because vaccine development requires substantial investment for research and development, pharmaceutical companies only invest in a vaccine if they can gain revenue from the innovation, according to Annika Hedberg, senior policy analyst at the European Policy Center. Hundreds of Ebola cases have bee...

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