Good news for people in malaria-suffering countries, mostly in Africa, as a partnership between Sanofi-Aventis and Médecines sans Frontières produces a new anti-malaria drug that will be made available cheaply. I would have been interested in learning more about exactly how this partnership worked. The world of pharmaceuticals, especially pharmaceuticals for tropical diseases where the level of public health demand for drugs tends to far exceed the size of the market for them in financial terms is obviously something where the charitable sector is going to need to play a big role if you want to get things done.
But drug companies have expertise in, well, making new drugs that charities lack. So what got Sanofi-Aventis to do this and is it realistic to look for a lot more of these sorts of things in the future? Alternatively, would there be major impediments to a very well-endowed charity like the Gates Foundation just trying to set up a non-profit drug company?