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Keywords:

  • developing world bioethics;
  • pharmaceutical;
  • health;
  • poverty;
  • essential medicines;
  • neglected disease;
  • developing countries

ABSTRACT

Most of the world's health problems afflict poor countries and their poorest inhabitants. There are many reasons why so many people die of poverty-related causes. One reason is that the poor cannot access many of the existing drugs and technologies they need. Another, is that little of the research and development (R&D) done on new drugs and technologies benefits the poor. There are several proposals on the table that might incentivize pharmaceutical companies to extend access to essential drugs and technologies to the global poor.1 Still, the problem remains – the poor are suffering and dying from lack of access to essential medicines. So, it is worth considering a new alternative. This paper suggests rating pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies based on how some of their policies impact poor people's health. It argues that it might be possible to leverage a rating system to encourage companies to extend access to essential drugs and technologies to the poor.