Profits First, Health Second: The Pharmaceutical Industry and the Global South; Comment on “More Pain, More Gain! The Delivery of COVID-19 Vaccines and the Pharmaceutical Industry’s Role in Widening the Access Gap”

Document Type : Commentary


1 School of Health Policy and Management, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada

2 Department of Family and Community Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada


The pharmaceutical industry has a long history of prioritizing the research and sale of medicines that will yield the largest amount of revenue and placing the health of people second. This gap is especially prevalent in countries of the Global South. This article first explores the dichotomy in research between the Global North and the Global South and then looks at examples of how access to key medicines used in diseases such as HIV, oncology and hepatitis C is limited in the latter group of countries. The role of pharmaceutical companies during the COVID-19 pandemic prompted negotiations for a pandemic accord that would ensure more equity in both research and access when the next pandemic comes. However, efforts by a combination of the pharmaceutical industry and some high-income countries (HICs) are creating serious obstacles to achieving the goal of an accord that would place health over profits.


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Articles in Press, Corrected Proof
Available Online from 20 April 2024
  • Receive Date: 20 February 2024
  • Revise Date: 14 April 2024
  • Accept Date: 17 April 2024
  • First Publish Date: 20 April 2024