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Tuesday, 18 February, 2003, 17:55 GMT
Pfizer tells Chancellor: 'We do help'
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Pfizer says it does a lot for third world healthcare
Drugs giant Pfizer has denied claims that companies in the industry are not doing enough to help the developing world.

The Chancellor Gordon Brown had accused some pharmaceutical firms of not making vital drugs available to poorer countries with high rates of HIV, Aids and other deadly diseases.

But management at Pfizer, whose UK base is in Kent and which is best known as the maker of Viagra, say Mr Brown's claims are untrue where it is concerned.

The firm says it donates more than $5bn a year to other countries.

'Terrible indictment'

Mr Brown said in a newspaper interview he was worried people were dying unnecessarily when effective medicines were available.

"This is a terrible indictment on a world that has the technology, the drugs and the resources to be able to solve these problems," he said.

We invest more than $5bn a year worldwide on research and development

Jill Samuel, Pfizer

His comments in the Guardian came after the World Trade Organisation discussed the multinational pharmaceutical market.

But Jill Samuel of Pfizer said: "If you look at the world healthcare problems, we invest more than $5bn a year worldwide on research and development to address some of the world's biggest killers.

"Although HIV and Aids get the major share of a lot of the media attention, heart disease remains, according to the World Health Organisation figures, the world's leading cause of death."

And she said the company also donated medicines to countries it knew would never be able to afford to buy them.

"Our philosophy has been to donate these medicines because our experience tells us that where patients cannot afford $100 a year, they can't afford $10 a year," said Ms Samuel.


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16 Feb 03 | Business
24 Jan 03 | Business
21 Dec 02 | Health
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