The Whole Story?

Just another report from the Beeb.

“Globorix will only be used in Africa to prevent meningitis at prices that may never cover its research costs.

Experts say it is a sign big companies are changing their business practices, but some critics say it is not enough.”

Ah, those “experts” again. And how “business practises” are a’changing.

Later in the article we find how “Teaming up with people like Bill Gates means vaccines for malaria, TB and eventually Aids may follow.”

Right, Auntie, so is it “changing business practises” , or is it actually CHARITY by another name?

And, whatever the case, it wouldn’t only be business which needed to up the morals- read through this Guardian article about drugs being resold on the black market and you will find that, after all the Guardian’s attempts to pin the problem on Europe, AFRICAN corruption plays a major role in the lack of requisite drugs for Africa’s peoples.

The BBC’s simplistic assumptions massively limit the informational value of its journalism.

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11 Responses to The Whole Story?

  1. Excuse Me? says:

    ex·pert •noun
    1. journalist’s sockpuppet.
    2. unionist.
    3. Greenie.
    4. ‘human rights’ activist.
    5. global warming doomsayer.

    etc etc


  2. Andrew Zalotocky says:

    Note the sneer about “the old business model of profits above everything” – this article is a lazy, shallow comment piece masquerading as news.

    Note also that there is no recognition of where the money to pay for all this wonderful research is supposed to come from if it’s somehow wrong for pharmaceutical companies to make profits.


  3. British Lion says:

    Giving people things to others for free is neither a “business model” nor new. Private charity existed in Ancient Rome and Greece, and was at its height in Britain in the early 20th century, before socialisation removed much of the moral imperative for it, and much of the wealth which was used to fund it.

    It’s odd that the BBC seems to be trying to present a story about businessmen donating their money to worthy causes (something that is also hardly new – the Rockerfeller Foundation springs to mind) as an indictment of the evils of “capitalism”, when surely it ought to be a ringing endorsement?

    Of course, we must remember that this is about a corporation and not an individual giving money and, ultimately, corporations do not possess money in the same way as individuals. The shareholders will still want their dividend, so this research will have to be paid for either by cutting back on research into medicines that will make money, or by charging extra for drugs that are sold for profit.

    GSK isn’t giving Africa its money – it’s giving Africa YOUR money (or the cost of saving your lives, if this is funded by cutting back research elsewhere). Regardless of whether you think this is a good or a bad thing, the BBC does not mention or even allude to it anywhere, choosing instead to present GSK as the distorted stereotype of the “big corporation” of the Anti-Globalisation movement, which has unlimited wealth but chooses not to give you any of it because it hates you and doesn’t care if you die, peasant.

    On the other hand, I find it hard to make up my mind on whether the BBC is knowingly biased on economic matters or whether it is simply monumentally ignorant. Perhaps a bit (or a lot) of both?


  4. Arthur Dent says:

    GSK is not giving their money or your money as a customer away it is giving it’s shareholders money away and I hope they asked them first.


  5. British Lion says:

    The shareholders have more power than you think. GSK won’t dare risk the share price or the dividend or the pension funds might pull out and that would essentially destroy the company. The money will be made back either through cutting R&D or increasing prices.

    Of course, this is really just an advertising expense made necessary by the anti-business campaigners and not a “true” charitable donation, so I suppose the shareholders will be in favour of it anyway.


  6. charles says:

    The BBC does not have the faintest idea of what business means. Its former Business Editor, Jeff Randall, gave up in despair: he said that most BBC employees “regard business as a near-criminal activity”. (paraphrase)

    The BBC itself lives off a form of compulsory charity, in the shape of the TV Licence.


  7. Jack Hughes says:

    Wonder what discipline this dreadful woman is studying:

    Anne Laure Ropars, an academic who has studied the way big firms deal with “neglected diseases”.

    Is she at the school of “lefty-marxism” or is it just “garbage studiz”. Wonder if she has ever held down a proper job ?


  8. Ultraviolence says:

    Business = Questionable and suspicious activity. Requires inspection.


  9. bodo says:

    The BBC is merely reflecting the common misguided [lefty?] opinion about drug companies, i.e. that they are all evil.

    Some of the facts:
    Only about 1 in 10 drugs that are developed ever make it onto the market and earn the inventor (i.e. drug company) any money.
    It takes about 10 years to actually bring a drug to market.
    It is not unknown for a highly qualified (i.e. Ph.D.) researcher to spend their entire career working for a drug company and never work on a drug that makes it to market — in other words the researcher has never earned the drug company a single penny in income, but they still need paying.

    A very good friend is a pharmacologist (ie he researches new drugs), I’ve known him since 6th form. He is one of the cleverest people I know – I’m sure he could have excelled in any scientific field. He went into pharmacology out of a genuine desire to help people, but even he, good-natured as he is, still needs to eat, and somewhere to live, and to help support his wife and three young kids. But… but… the BBC seem to have found a ‘new business model’ where profit is irrelevant and companies can survive even when they lose money. Presumably my friend can now work for free, and the supermarket and his building society [and wife!] will be fully understanding when he tells them; “Well it was on the BBC”.

    Perhaps BBC employees could demonstrate the wonders of this ‘new business model’ by refunding this years licence fee and forgoing their wages. It will be a wonderful example to us all.


  10. jones says:

    It appears that the new business model is to reduce the stringency of testing for drugs aimed at the 3rd world.

    from the FT:

    “At the core of the debate is the tension between a desire to save as many lives as quickly as possible and a concern to ensure that patients in the developing world do not receive medicines of poorer quality and efficacy than would be approved in richer countries……

    …. Since 2004, the European Medicines Agency (Emea) has launched a partial solution with a special regulatory pathway for drugs for the developing world, dubbed Article 58. The US Food and Drug Administration is considering a similar approach.

    The Emea has already approved three drugs using this approach. GSK this week applied to it for approval of Globorix, a combination vaccine to protect against multiple childhood diseases including meningitis.”,_i_rssPage=ceecf842-3b01-11da-a2fe-00000e2511c8,Authorised=false.html?

    There is no mention of this on the BBC report .
    In the BBC article, the GSK CEO says “We have found a pretty clever way to fund therapeutic solutions for the developing world”. Wouldn’t the whole BBC article have been improved by Angus Crawford asking him what that clever new way involved?


  11. Robin says:

    “BBC Putting Audience Figures Before Lives”

    The BBC is refusing to invest in pharmaceutical companies that can develop new drugs that could save lives.Instead it trys to pay enormous sums for the rights to sporting events and large salaries to people they call celebrities like Johnathon Ross.
    A BBC spokesman defended its profligate spending by saying they all had good fun on Red Nose Day, and showed some Africans. “We also feel it`s neccessary to invest in the Guardian, by placing all our adverts there ” the spokesperson said, having never heard of other forms of mass communication. The spokeswoman said that the Corporation would leave the medical market alone, because there were near monopolies that almost forced you to pay for their products operating there.