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Blog Examines Drug Donation Programs, Big Pharma’s Role In Public Health Agenda

“Drug donations, reinvestment of profits in developing countries and a more flexible approach to intellectual property have all signaled a more collaborative approach from industry with the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi, Johnson & Johnson and Merck all performing well in the 2012 Access to Medicine Initiative,” Adam Robert Green, senior reporter with the Financial Times’ “This is Africa,” writes in the Royal African Society’s “African Arguments” blog. “But while talk of a new era of friendship is appealing (not least to the companies), there are still unresolved debates about the role that companies play in shaping the public health agenda in developing countries. Even the most seemingly charitable acts have come under scrutiny,” he writes, noting some programs raise questions of sustainability, prioritization, and cost effectiveness. “No one should expect Big Pharma to act as a charity — for one thing, such behavior will be superficial and unsustainable,” he writes, adding, “The challenge is to establish where ‘corporate citizenship’ stops and the bottom line starts” (4/29).