Underwhelming big pharma response to Ebola – I urge more collaboration

A few weeks ago I asked where are the big pharma companies who have been largely surprisingly quiet during the Ebola epidemic. Today I see a press release announcing J&J will have their vaccine next year and GSK later this year. Possibly other companies will be involved at the WHO’s urging. What took so long? This has been all over the press for months and these companies are just now waking up from their stupor or pulling themselves away from playing Angry Birds or the “who can we buy out next” game! And why oh why is there no mention of trying small molecule drugs? Where are all those big pharma’s the Merck’s, Pfizer, Sanofi, Novartis etc?

Lets not forget that in the second world war many drug companies ‘collaborated’ to manufacture penicillin – what was the commercial gain then if any? What is the difference between then and now? The big pharma companies have largely lost their direction, perhaps even their moral compass in some senses. Where are the visionary leaders? I can bet if Paul Janssen was still around he would have been all over Ebola.

There are patients dying in Africa and elsewhere, get out of those meetings and do something, send your drugs to USAMRIID, get them tested vs Ebola and then if they are useful crank up the manufacturing and ship them out. Now there is a strategy. Stop talking about doing something with WHO and actually DO SOMETHING.

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