A letter to the Editor of the Seattle Times
The Ebola epidemic has dominated the news since it broke out (“Nurse criticizes Ebola quarantine, raising concern”). Many questions are being asked, but one question not being asked is: “Where are the pharmaceutical companies?
Ebola is an unprofitable disease from the standpoint of the bottom line. Why develop a vaccine for a disease that mainly exists in poor countries? Also, where is the profit in developing any vaccine, since it is used only once or twice per person, as opposed to drugs for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease or erectile dysfunction?
Haven’t we seen this before with HIV? It took years of advocacy and protest to drag the drug companies kicking and screaming into developing effective treatments for AIDS and HIV. Then it was like a miracle happened, and that particular plague was arrested, at least in developed countries.
No one is asking the drug companies to be totally altruistic and not make a good profit. They could do this by offsetting the research costs for inexpensive treatments by the highly profitable ones. Jesus said, “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?” Since corporations are now considered “people,” have the pharmaceutical companies lost their collective souls?