#Malaria, Big Drugs and Big Bucks

Malaria shot

African Babies as Guinea Pigs?

By Thomas C. Mountain

When it comes to the new malaria vaccine developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) now being tested on infants in the east African country of Tanzania I will let the words of an industry insider tell it best:

“There is not much profit to be made by big pharma from a highly effective malaria vaccine of practical use for African sufferers…they [Big Drugs) are fiendishly clever at exploiting any and all opportunities to reap big benefits.”

“The poorly performing malaria vaccine RTS,S, created by GSK with a healthy infusion of funds from the Gates Foundation, is being tested in Phase III trials in Africa now. Including many thousands of African infants.”

“GSK will not profit from RTS,S. However, RTS,S is injected along with a new GSK adjuvant called AS01.”

“GSK will make vast sums from the new adjuvant, the testing of which is being piggybacked on their altruistic malaria vaccine (which, incidentally, is virtually entirely ineffective without AS01).”

“Interestingly, RTS,S (or should I say, AS01) testing in African infants began before AS01 trials in children were permitted in the United States.”

“GSK physician-scientists also held positions of significance in the Gates Foundation…conflict-of-interest issues not withstanding.”

So the Gates Foundation is giving Big Bucks ($400 million and counting) to Big Drugs/GSK to develop a vaccine against Africa’s number one killer, malaria.

The new not-for-profit malaria vaccine is “virtually entirely ineffective” without another medicine, whose patent is owned by GSK, resulting in $billions of African blood money filling the coffers of Big Drugs, once again.

Never mind Big Drugs/GSK had its reps at the Gate$ Foundation and Big Buck$ in the form of tax deductible grants are being shelled out by the Gate$ Foundation to Big Drugs/GSK.

And never mind that billions of desperately needed African foreign currency reserves will be spent on this new malaria vaccine. The really nasty thing about all this is the fact that, once again, Big Drugs tests new drugs on African babies before any such permission is granted to do so on American babies.

And all the while one African country, Eritrea, has reduced malaria mortality by 80% over the last decade, a fact unknown to the supposedly altruistic, or more aptly, incestuous, vaccine industry.

Thomas C. Mountain is the only independent western journalist in the Horn of Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006. He can be reached at thomascmountain at yahoo dot com.

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