Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Exploiting non-communicable disease

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e1278 (Published 22 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e1278
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}yahoo.co.uk

The developed world is ever more cynical about Big Pharma, having suffered decades of marketing spin, drug scandals, and the manipulation of research. So drug companies are now eyeing the developing world, with its huge populations, rapidly increasing wealth, and light touch regulation. This is the new colonial frontier, ripe for a health land grab. Non-communicable diseases are the new commodity to exploit. Because they require lifelong prescriptions, chronic diseases are a profit goldmine for drug companies. The World Health Organization supports and legitimises this activity. Meanwhile, wealth inequality, poverty, and basic public health …

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