Phil Duncan on Fri, 15 Nov 2002 01:06:01 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] Fwd: <nettime> Patrice Trouiller on B & M Gates foundation andMicrosoft

It is also notable that Mr. Gates has been rumored to be acquiring stock in 
pharmaceutical companies.

>X-Authentication-Warning: majordomo set sender to 
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>From: James Love <>
>Subject: <nettime> Patrice Trouiller on B & M Gates foundation and Microsoft
>Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 23:53:44 -0500
>Reply-To: James Love <>
>      [orig to random-bits <>,
>       via <>]
>Patrice Trouiller is quite well known in the public health community.  These
>are some of this thoughts on the relationship between the Foundation and the
>firm.    Jamie
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: [e-drug] B & M Gates foundation and Microsoft
>Date: Wed, 13 Nov 2002 22:25:32 -0500 (EST)
>From: Trouiller, Patrice <>
>E-drug: B & M Gates foundation and Microsoft
>When reading the review and declarations made by Mr Bill Gates during its
>three-day tour in India, Chairman of Microsoft Co., as it is reported by the
>UK-based newspaper The Guardian (The Guardian, 12/11/2002) we are
>allowed to wonder whether some current international public health
>concerns (i.e. the HIV/AIDS crisis) are fundable within the Microsoft
>strategic and political agenda?
>Thus according to the Guardian "Mr Gates said he had chosen to give money to
>India (through his charity - the B&M Gates foundation, a $100 million
>initiative to fight the spread of HIV/AIDS in India has been officially
>announced during Mr Gates tour in India) because the country had contributed
>an amazing amount to the software industry and to Microsoft". Similar
>comments have been also reported by the New York Times (November 11,
>2002 edition).
>The B&M Gates foundation set up in January 2000 which among others is
>focusing its activities on global health (it has an endowment of $24bn with
>priorities including the spread of HIV in developing countries and
>developing vaccines) is now the world's second largest philanthropic
>organisation just after the UK-based Wellcome Trust. Thus through its huge
>financial power (much more substantial than the WHO one!), the
>Foundation has a growing impact and influence in the global health
>agenda setting up, particularly in the pharmaceutical sector through various
>engagements (e.g., GAVI, IAVI, MVI and IVI for vaccines, GATBDD and MMV for
>tuberculosis and malaria drugs).
>This story - i.e. a confusion between the objectives of a charity and the
>ones of a commercial corporation, is not new. We saw in the past, through
>the Rockefeller foundation example, the same scenario: in the 1920s the
>Rockefeller foundation launched a campaign of hookworm infection eradication
>(in cooperation with the Health Organisation of the League of Nations) in
>the United States and in Central America, with a similar confusion of
>agendas (cf. Birn A, Solorzano A; Public health policy paradoxes: science
>and politics in the Rockefeller Foundation's hookworm campaign in Maxico in
>the 1920s. Soc. Sc. Med.). This is what we usually call with different
>words, neocolonialism, but not charity or development.
>Recycling dividends from wealthy corporations through charities becomes
>something questionable, once such a charity through its financial powers and
>ties is able to informally influence the international health agenda. The
>issue is then what is the legitimacy of such structures? So far the unique
>legitimate body is the World Health Organisation, created in 1948 to be the
>worldwide agency in the field of international health with a constitution
>endowing it with regulatory powers, and with a representativeness through
>the World Health Assembly.
>We have to stay circumspect and pay closer attention to this kind of
>conflict of interest, because it is not highly unlikely that next time when
>giving a financial assistance to a developing country, one of the
>conditionalities defined by the B&M Gates foundation could be its compliance
>to intellectual property rights regarding the Windows proprietary operating
>Patrice Trouiller, PharmD, MB
>University Hospital, Grenoble, France
>MSF Access campaign, Geneva, Switzerland
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