Dollars and Jens
Monday, March 29, 2004
J&J to Give Away New AIDS Drug
From Monday's Journal (link requires a subscription):
In a move to get an experimental medicine to impoverished developing-world markets, Johnson & Johnson will give away a promising AIDS drug to a nonprofit organization.The Financial Times appears to have a free version of the story.
Today, the International Partnership for Microbicides plans to announce it has reached a royalty-free agreement with Tibotec Pharmaceuticals Ltd., a Belgian subsidiary of J&J, to develop the drug for use in poor countries. The announcement will be made at the Microbicides Conference 2004 in London.
I know Merck has given away drugs in the past (the one that sticks in my memory is a river-blindness drug). Merck has justified this, in part, as a way to please its researchers -- they had gone into drug research to cure sick people, and Merck had gone into business to cure sick people, so they were going to cure sick people. The Mectizan program cost them a little money, but I doubt it's a coincidence that Merck continues to have the most respected R&D department in the industry, their recent pipeline problems notwithstanding.