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Ebola Outbreak: 'There's No Money In Dead Africans'

Monday 4th August 2014

A leading scientist claims that the pharmaceutical industry have not focussed on a cure for ebola as "there's no money in dead Africans".

ebola doctors

Professor John Ashton, President of the UK Faculty of Public Health told Stig Abell and Petrie Hosken that the West's response has been tardy because of a lack of opportunities for profit.

He told LBC: "There are parallels with the Aids virus, which came from west Africa in the late 70s, as ebola has.

"There was a very slow international response at a political level, at a scientific level, at a funding level and not least at a pharmaceutical level until the virus affected what the press call 'innocent groups', when it went beyond gay people in America. It was when it affected babies, women, people with haemophilia. It was only then that the institutions responded.

"And part of the issue has always been for the pharmaceutical industry that unless enough people are affected, they won't invest in research. It's the same situation now with ebola.

"The bigger picture is that these countries where these diseases emerge are countries that are incredibly poor, where the environment and living conditions where these people live are squalid.

"If the big phamaceutical companies won't take it on voluntarily, I think we do need to look at a legal and fiscal framework that allows them to do it.

"There's no money in dead Africans, as far as they are concerned.

"But as soon as people in Europe and America are affected then they'd sit up and start listening.

"Having all this news on ebola this week has mobilised the public to start thinking about this."