Opinion: From our readers - Drugs are not the same as soft drinks

GSK's pioneering move to supply 'patented' drugs to the developing world at a 75 per cent discount is certainly a 'hit' (Media, 20 February).

As much as I love Coke (Diet), Niall Cowley's comparison of a soft drink to life-saving medicines is irritating. Firstly, since when was a soft drink a necessity? Secondly, when has a soft drinks company had to recuperate hundreds of millions of pounds of R&D?

After a short period of exclusivity a medicine comes off patent and can be made in a generic form cheaply. There are examples of companies supporting the developing world to manufacture generic medicines to a high standard.

We should admire the pharmaceutical industry for the massive contribution it makes to society.

Neil Crump, MD, Aurora Communications

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