Do pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to develop and produce vaccines for diseases such as malaria that exist primarily in poorer countries?

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Diseases such as malaria may currently be seen in the "poorer" nations but with international boundaries becoming less clear and the advances in travel, these diseases might well travel to the developed nations. So no human being on earth is free from the risk of any disease. 

In such a...

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Diseases such as malaria may currently be seen in the "poorer" nations but with international boundaries becoming less clear and the advances in travel, these diseases might well travel to the developed nations. So no human being on earth is free from the risk of any disease. 

In such a case, every pharmaceutical company and every individual needs to work towards the eradication of disease and the creation of the highest level of social, mental and physical well being of every living being, be it man or animal or plant. 

As responsible members of the society in which we live in, each pharmaceutical company needs to work towards developing any medicines or vaccines, which might seemingly be for the diseases that rampage the poorer nations, but are in effect for the welfare of the entire human kind. Take the example of the smallpox eradication campaign. Had the pharmaceutical companies focussed on producing vaccines for only the countries that had smallpox, this disease would not have been relegated to a few vials in the CDC now.

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No, the companies don't have an obligation to develop anything.  A company is pretty much only going to act in a way that is profitable.  It might develop the vaccine to use it as a tax write-off or a marketing tool, but if there is no money to be made the development won't get done.

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The answer is no. First you need to understand that the only obligation any business has is to make money for its shareholders. A pharmaceutical company is no exception to this; they need to develop the drugs that will produce a profit for the company and increase its stock value.

That being said, many pharmaceutical firms do undertake charitable research if it can be financially justified through tax breaks or paid for by government grants. Companies also can justify charitable research by publicizing it to improve the company image. But these activities are voluntary, not obligatory.

Vaccines also can be controversial, and there are some people who would argue that offering immunizations to the poor may be an attempt at manipulating them.

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