Is The Gates Foundation Really Looking At New Ways To Tackle Big Health Problems When It's Hiring Pharma Execs?

from the doesn't-seem-right dept

The Gates Foundation has plenty of opportunities to do some amazing things with the size of its fund and the ability of Bill Gates, in particular, to command attention. And, yet, hearing that it's now hired a former Big Pharma exec to run its Global Health Program has to make you wonder if the Gates Foundation is focused on increasing health in the world... or increasing the health of big pharmaceutical companies, which have been struggling lately. One of the biggest problems with healthcare today is making the debate pharmaceutical-centric, rather than health centric. Yes, drugs are a part of a comprehensive healthcare plan, but, too often, policymakers and groups let pharma firms drive the debate, when they're an (extremely) biased party that has a long history of not doing what's best for everyone's health, but what's best for their own profits. And, to be clear, I have no issue with pharmaceutical firms looking to maximize profit. But I do have issues when they use unfair or questionable means to do so, when that can create serious harm and limited access to medicines. The Gates Foundation could have totally changed the debate. But, instead, it seems to be doing the opposite.


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    Hephaestus (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Maybe the pharma exec has had a crisis of conscience. Hey you never know ... Stranger things have happened.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:23am

    Doubting the Gates foundations commitment to world health?

    Common Mike, even I gotta say this one takes it a bit far. I'm pretty sure when Gates created the first significant dent in malaria in Africa ever, without a single drug, he was just thinking about the industry.... He has personally shown a greater commitment to world health than probably anyone but Borlaug.

     

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      Designerfx (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:44am

      Re: Doubting the Gates foundations commitment to world health?

      Gates has never shown a commitment to anything philanthropic. There has always been a profit motive behind it.

      Look at who he's funded all over Africa and there's been corruption behind every company.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:43am

      Re: Doubting the Gates foundations commitment to world health?

      I have to agree with the parent post on this one. I am typically quite skeptical of the pharma industry, but the Gates Foundation, from my understanding, has a pretty good tradition of placing global health first. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt on this one until I start to see policy decisions that reflect a change away from that tradition.

      In fact, the foundation may benefit from having an exec on board that can provide insite to pharma operations and can negotiate for reduced drug prices in humanitarian efforts.

      To sum it up, I will most certainly be keeping a closer eye on the issue, but until I see something more concrete I don't think I can pass the same judgment.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:14am

        Re: Re: Doubting the Gates foundations commitment to world health?

        I agree too. By helping the pharma industry, the Gates Foundation is also helping to improve world health. The more money the pharma industry makes, the healthier it can make us all.

         

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      cjstg (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:25am

      Re: Doubting the Gates foundations commitment to world health?

      agreed. gates is a pretty smart guy (too smart sometimes). give him the benefit of the doubt. obviously there are some areas where just changing behavior and environment can prevent diseases in developing nations. however, sometimes drugs are the best answer. who better to have on your side than someone who knows the players. after all it is his and buffet's money. neither of them is known for throwing away money.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:28am

    Mike, do you assume that every move by every group is some sort of conspiracy? Seriously, this post looks like something that would be written by a tin foil hatter.

    Have you considered perhaps that this guy has a rolodex that would kill most of us, that he has the contacts and the background to be able to work deals to get better drug prices, or to get "end of life" stock donated to the cause, or perhaps hundreds of other ways that he can reach out and bridge the gap from the foundation to the Pharma industry in order to get things done?

    I also have to say that sticking a question mark at the end of your slam doesn't insulate you from your opinion. It sort of makes you look more like a chickenshit for not just coming out and saying what you think. Weasel words, IMHO.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:42am

      Re: On Crackpots

      Ah yes, nothing easier than perhaps lumping somebody into the easily-clumped conditioned-by-media group called "crackpots, conspiracy theorists, nutters, tin-foil hatter, et al"

      Accepting that anybody who might fall under such a stereotype does a horrid disservice to all those who would question--are you the sort who doesn't question? I don't think so!

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:14am

        Re: Re: On Crackpots

        Lobo, don't you think it sneaky and sort of intellectually dishonest to post up an opinion, and the couch it as a question to avoid responsiblity for it?

        If Mike thinks this is bad, he should just come out and say it. No "is it", no "perhaps"... have an opinion and express it.

        What Mike does like this is put himself in a position of deniablity. We can't pin him to the opinion because he didn't state it, he "asked" it.

        Don't you feel that is a little less than scrupulous?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:38am

          Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

          What Mike does like this is put himself in a position of deniablity. We can't pin him to the opinion because he didn't state it, he "asked" it.

          Don't you feel that is a little less than scrupulous?


          It's called being an oily FUD monger, isn't it?

          See, I'm just asking a question. I'm not stating that Masnick is an oily FUD monger.

           

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          Atkray (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:02am

          Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

          Questions promote dialog.

          Well usually.


          ps: don't knock the tinfoil hat until you have tried it.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:05am

          Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

          Mike has a pretty clear history of trying to inspire discussion in the comments. I don't have any issue with the opinion being posed as a question.

          I just think it's a little early to pass judgment on the guy or the foundation until we see what the true intentions are.

           

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:06am

          Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

          I'm not sure I understand what is so bad about approaching a topic without being 100% sure of what you think about it. In fact it seems like a pretty good thing. Look at American political discourse: it's just constant angry polarization, because nobody is willing to just say "I'm not sure, but it's worth considering" instead of hammering their fists and insisting they know everything.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 12:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

            Yet 6 months from now, if turn out to be "right" in some manner, Mike will be there with the old "we have already shown that...." pointing to this sort of a post.

            Sorry Marcus, what Mike is doing is couching his opinions in a way that they cannot be pinned on him. Weasel wording, playing on words, and couching statements as question is sort of tasteless. It gets you things like?

            "Are the performances of Marcus Carab on stage prove that he is a talentless schmuck?"

            Repeat it a few times, and you get:

            http://www.google.ca/search?gcx=c&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8&q=marcus+carab+talent less+schmuck

            See how you can create "truth" with a question?

             

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              Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:54pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

              LOL. So your criticism of this post is based on how it gets referred to in your imagination six months from now? You just HAVE to find something to complain about, don't you?

              And uh, if someone is Googling "marcus carab talentless schmuck" it would seem they've already made up their minds. I'm not too concerned about them, sorry.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Sep 24th, 2011 @ 8:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

                Marcus, if you can't grasp the basic concept, it's pretty hard to have a discussion with you about it. I asked a question, and suddenly it's a "fact" in the Techdirt universe.

                PS: If you search for just "talentless schmuck" you are on page 3 today, without any SEO or any attempts to boost it. Would you like to be the number 1 talentless schmuck?

                 

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                  Marcus Carab (profile), Sep 24th, 2011 @ 7:38pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

                  Hahaha seriously, page 3? Yes of course I would like page one. That would be hilarious and amazing! Marcus Carab talentless schmuck Marcus Carab talentless schmuck Marcus Carab talentless schmuck Marcus Carab talentless schmuck...

                  Holy shit I can't wait...

                   

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              Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

              Pedo lawyer from Washington DC detected.

              See when people see your post they also will see this comment LoL

               

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          Robert Downs, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 10:41am

          Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

          If Mike thinks this is bad, he should just come out and say it. No "is it", no "perhaps"... have an opinion and express it.

          At least Mike posts with his name.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 11:31am

          Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

          He's asking a question to spurn discussion about it. This isn't new, and it's not some evil conspiracy theory like you seem to think it is. Maybe you should take off your tin-foil hat once in a while...

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 1:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: On Crackpots

          Even if dishonest it is still less dishonest than paying for studies to show you are right and then putting that out and trying to make it reality.

           

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          Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 7:05pm

          Re: ... don't you think it sneaky and sort of intellectually dishonest to post up an opinion, and the couch it as a question to avoid responsiblity for it?

          You mean, like you just did?

           

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      deadzone (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:46am

      Re:

      Why not stop reading this site then? If it bothers you so much that you feel the need to skewer Mike for every article he writes maybe it's high time for a time out.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:12am

        Re: Re:

        Ahh, the perfect idea. Why would you not want to challenge what is wrong? Should we ignore all the crackpots and wingnuts and just let them go on spreading their brand of misinformation?

        Sorry, but Mike posts it, he earns the acknowledgement when he really punts it.

         

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          John Fenderson (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 11:49am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Oh, is that what you're doing? And here I thought you just had some kind of vendetta against Mike and that's the reason that you attack him personally with every post rather than actually making a serious, thoughtful argument.

          Maybe you'd be a little more effective if you stopped with the name-calling and trivial, pointless argumentation and started actually addressing the points raised.

           

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    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
       
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:52am

      Re:

      Mike, do you assume that every move by every group is some sort of conspiracy?

      Cuz that's how he rolls.

      Seriously, this post looks like something that would be written by a tin foil hatter.

      It was

      Have you considered perhaps that this guy has a rolodex that would kill most of us, that he has the contacts and the background to be able to work deals to get better drug prices, or to get "end of life" stock donated to the cause, or perhaps hundreds of other ways that he can reach out and bridge the gap from the foundation to the Pharma industry in order to get things done?

      Obviously not. That wouldn't be consistent with the doctrine of conspiracy theory.

      I also have to say that sticking a question mark at the end of your slam doesn't insulate you from your opinion. It sort of makes you look more like a chickenshit for not just coming out and saying what you think. Weasel words, IMHO.

      Amen to that.

       

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      bigpicture, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:32am

      Re: Change It's Spots

      Are you really that naive? This is a man who has the most questionable ethics in business, who ran a company that has the highest number of Anti Trust charges in history, and now he is a huge humanitarian? I have never seen a leopard change it's spots.

      Sure there are changes when money is spent, the only reason for poverty, starvation, disease in the first place is that there is no INTENTION to fix it and therefore no money spent. 10% of the US Military budget would in fact fix it all, but its all about priorities, and special interests.

      Bill's fund is just a Tax Shelter for his money, but he has to appear to do something to qualify for the shelter.

       

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    A. Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Antitrust?

    Maybe somehow this falls under antitrust regulations or it should.

     

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    Lord Binky, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:38am

    Or...

    Big pharma donates to the gates foundation, and the gates foundation grants money to big pharma where they donate.. nope, to complicated.

     

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    anonymous, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 8:44am

    entertainment industries thinking - lets do what ever it takes to stop any other way for people to enjoy music or movies from being developed, forcing them to continue to buy only what we have produced!

    pharma companies - lets do what ever it takes to stop any other way for people to get needed medicines, forcing them to continue to buy only what we have produced!

    both are lobbying hard, getting new laws put into place, extending old copyrights, inventing new copyrights to simply monopolize their failing business models.

    so, apart from being different industries, the difference is what, exactly?

     

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      Richard (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:04am

      Re:

      pharma companies - lets do what ever it takes to stop any other way for people to get needed medicines, forcing them to continue to buy only what we have produced!

      Lets find ways to turn life threatening conditions into long term dependency on drugs.

       

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      Lord Binky, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:07am

      Re:

      People live with pain and suffering because of pharma companies restricting access to their products while people live without pain and suffering because the entertainment industries restricting access to their products.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:13am

    surprise!

    ok, so exactly how is this different from everything else the gates foundation has touched?

    this is nothing more than bill gates pretending to give back to the world while really just making new business partners to increase his wealth.

    bill gates didnt change when he left microsoft. embrace, extend, extinguish. to the core.

     

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    Tom A, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:23am

    It is as though nobody read the article that Mike was talking about. It is not Mike's opinion to reiterate the article's stance and question whether it's true. Too many people skimming the surface!!!

     

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    Richard Hack (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Gates Foundation is a con game

    Like most rich foundations, the purpose of it is to provide influence and control, not charity.

    If you look at the Foundation's Web site, you'll see that all these "huge" donations to charities are spread out OVER TEN YEARS or more! The actual amount of money doled out in a given year is a minute fraction of the Foundation's assets.

    In addition, given the assets of the Foundation, I recall the US government nearly removed its status as a charitable foundation because so LITTLE percentage of its assets were being expended on actual charitable work.

    The Gates Foundation is a stock-laundering scam. Gates can't sell large amounts of his Microsoft stock all at once because of SEC rules on major corporate shareholders. So he creates a foundation - run by his father - that he can donate the stock to. Then the foundation uses the value of that stock to invest in other corporations Gates wants to influence.

    It's a standard scam for the uber-rich, nothing more. While obviously a certain number of people and charities get some decent assistance, the "philanthropic" motivation is just a PR scam.

     

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      identicon
      S, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 2:21pm

      Re: Gates Foundation is a con game

      You mean, rich people aren't actually labouring with our best interests at heart?

      Gasp! I would never have guessed!

       

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    fb39ca4 (profile), Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 5:41pm

    Actually, they are not

    Drugs are not part of a comprehensive health care plan. Real medicine is found within nature, not an artificial molecule brewed up in a lab and sold at thousands of times the cost of manufacturing it.

     

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      teka, Sep 23rd, 2011 @ 9:42pm

      Re: Actually, they are not

      Good, good.

      And which root would i have to chew to get Duloxetine(Cymbalta)?

      Will i find it in the bushes, or do i need to check in the forest?

       

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    hmm (profile), Sep 24th, 2011 @ 7:32am

    actually

    It was a shoe company made the first serious dent in Malaria

    This was done by (gently and kindly) capturing hundreds of african children and chaining them to (attractive and colorful) conveyor belts in (lovely)warehouses and forcing them to make shoes until they died (happily) of malnutrition..but hey it wasn't malaria!!!!!

    I can't name the company but they like the company of greek goddesses that proclaim victory.

    Shill Game - try to guess which words the shoe company have inserted into the post above!

     

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    hmm (profile), Sep 25th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    hey

    can i be the number one TALENTED schmuck? :)

     

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