In the West, and the US especially, we see a lot of adverts by large transnational pharmaceutical companies. … It is becoming increasingly apparent and of concern how the emphasis on new drugs and cures being developed fit a class distinction, where the research is on problems that affect the wealthier people and those who can afford the cures.
"Multinational pharmaceutical companies neglect the diseases of the tropics, not because the science is impossible but because there is, in the cold economics of the drugs companies, no market. There is, of course, a market in the sense that there is a need: millions of people die from preventable or curable diseases every week.
"But there is no market in the sense that, unlike Viagra, medicines for leishmaniasis are needed by poor people in poor countries. Pharmaceutical companies judge that they would not get sufficient return on research investment, so why, they ask, should we bother? Their obligation to shareholders, they say, demands that they put the effort into trying to find cures for the diseases of affluence and longevity — heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s. Of the thousands of new compounds drug companies have brought to the market in recent years, fewer than 1% are for tropical diseases....
"In the corporate headquarters of major drug companies, the public relations posters display the image they like to present: of caring companies that bring benefit to humanity, relieving the suffering of the sick. What they don’t say, is that, so far, their humanity has not extended beyond the limits of the pockets of the sick."
[Excerpt of research compilation by Anup Shah. Above quattaion from Isabel Hilton, A Bitter Pill For The World’s Poor, the Guardian]