Bill Gates says capitalism funnels more resources into minor ailments than infectious diseases

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, "has declared capitalism 'flawed' because it channels more resources to curing minor ailments such as male baldness than to addressing the diseases that destroy millions of lives every year," The Independent reports. "The billionaire founder of the software giant Microsoft, who is now one of the world's most prominent philanthropists, told [the Royal Academy of Engineering's Global Grand Challenges Summit] in London last week that it was an indictment of the economic system that dominates most of the planet that more money is spent on research to reverse hair loss than on tackling scourges of the developing world such as malaria," the newspaper adds (Chu, 3/16).  

"'Our priorities are tilted by marketplace imperatives,' he said. 'The malaria vaccine in humanist terms is the biggest need. But it gets virtually no funding. But if you are working on male baldness or other things you get an order of magnitude more research funding because of the voice in the marketplace than something like malaria,'" Gates added, according to Wired. "As a result, governments and philanthropic organizations have to step in to offset this 'flaw in the pure capitalistic approach,'" Gates said, the magazine writes (Solon, 3/14). The Independent adds, "His comments will be interpreted as another blast at the large pharmaceutical companies, which have long been criticized for plowing money into developing 'lifestyle drugs' and neglecting research that could save the lives of the world's poorest" (3/16).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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