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Out of the horse's mouth
"I'M NOT in business to make cars. I'm in business to make money," said Donald Stokes, chairman of British Leyland when it was the biggest British car company in the 1970s. Now, another chief executive said the same, this time about medicines.
The giant Swiss pharmaceutical company, Novartis, has a new malaria treatment called Coartem, derived from traditional Chinese medicine. The World Health Organisation forecast 120 million treatments a year were needed.
Novartis had sufficient capacity to produce 100 million a year, in 2004 but it only had four million orders. The reasons included lack of funding and uncertainty over 'long-term donor support', ie poor people with malaria couldn't afford it.
The company has had to subsidise production by £5 million a year to boost orders.
Chief executive Daniel Vasella told the Financial Times: "You can't expect for-profit organisation to do this on a large scale. If you want to establish a system where companies systematically invest in this kind of area, you need a different system."
Out of the horse's mouth!
In The Socialist 9 November 2006:
War and terrorism
International socialist news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history