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05.31.10

Gates Foundation Criticised Again for Monopolising Research

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Patents at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function.

New York Times, 2008

Summary: Research diversity is being stifled by the Gates Foundation and Gates-funded ‘studies’ spread misconceptions to defend the foundation’s own agenda

THE Gates Foundation is relevant to this Web site because of the role it plays in promoting Microsoft at the expense of software freedom. Today’s post is more closely related to patents than software and we kindly ask readers to revisit some background in order to understand how the Gates Foundation promotes patents on solutions that save people’s lives. It’s an issue of scarcity where any scarcity means loss of life (patents being the expensive component, not manufacturing).

Thanks to PR efforts from the Gates Foundation (which contracts outside agencies to manage its PR), several high-profile publications continue to promote Gates as a saviour of lives, but the truth (or reality) is a little more complicated than that. Some honourable people do talk about it, but the amount of PR typically marginalises them (by sheer volume).

“Big Pharma gets on board with Gates Foundation,” says this new article which points out:

Although most observers of the Gates Foundation highlight the organization’s influence over grantees, it is clear that the world’s largest philanthropy is exerting a strong influence over the pharmaceutical industry.

As we have shown before, the Gates Foundation is a shareholder and a benefactor in this industry. There actually is a conflict of interests. The Gates Foundation is monopolising research while investing (in the shareholder sense) in the companies that benefit from it. As the Indian press put it some days ago:

Should it be just one big idea, the way Bill and Melinda Gates foundation tackles malaria? (Not even a nano comparison in terms of funding).

The investments are selective and they sometimes come with strings attached. This puts a lot of pressure on researchers to comply with the plan of the Gates Foundation and not anything else. Is this the free thinking that research requires? Does that permit diversity of opinions and breadth of exploration?

Here is another new article:

Although the British drug giant known as GSK was heralded by leading health organizations, the driving force behind the disclosure was the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

For those who do not know or remember, the Head of Global Health for the Gates Foundation is from GlaxoSmithKline where he was caught abusing outside researchers who did not agree with him. Charles Grassley was there in the Senate investigating such inexcusable abuse. GlaxoSmithKline is not the only company which is very much inside the Gates Foundation and we gave more examples before (even Monsanto staff is inside the Gates Foundation).

Anyway, this man is called Tachi Yamada and here he is speaking to the press some days ago.

“Grand Challenges Explorations continues to generate unique and creative ways to tackle global health issues,” said Tachi Yamada, president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Health Programme.

To complete his sentence, they strive to generate unique and creative ways to tackle global health issues by paying big pharmaceutical companies after lobbying governments to allocate funds. That does not mean that the Gates Foundation won’t pay anything; it does pay generously, but it also uses its brand power to further boost investment in companies which it has investments in, using taxpayers' money for the most part. Look who is managing some of these funds:

Arabella Philanthropic Investment Advisors, a philanthropy services firm, is working with ultra-wealthy families’ foundations that are looking to make a philanthropic impact with fewer resources. The firm has done work for The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Mead Family Foundation and for corporations like Caterpillar and Hyatt.

One might say that taxpayers choose to support Gates’ vision, but not everyone agrees. Gates has just produced a self-serving ‘study’ [1, 2] which is being called “absolute nonsense” by someone who is simply not agreeing with the results of such Gates Foundation-funded research. There is an article about it:

FAIR CEO Blasts Kaiser Foundation & Public Agenda HIV/AIDS Study Results as ‘Absolute Nonsense’

The President and CEO of the FAIR Foundation, Dr. Richard Darling, DDS, is publicly denouncing research studies by the Kaiser Family Foundation and Public Agenda which conclude that Americans want more money spent on HIV/AIDS.

[...]

FAIR points out that in addition to the exorbitant federal funding, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has spent approximately $7 billion on global HIV, TB & malaria efforts and billions of additional dollars have been spent on behalf of HIV patients by the collective efforts of pharmaceutical companies, Hollywood AIDS activists and non-profit organizations such as amfAR (American Federation for AIDS Research).

Let’s not forget the Lancet study from Gates — a ‘study’ which was quite widely disputed [1, 2, 3, 4] but is still appearing in the press.

A new study published in the Lancet and funded by the Gates Foundation, looks at rates of decline, and accelerations and decelerations in rates of decline, in mortality in children younger than 5 years for 187 countries from 1970 to 2009.

There is a quiet fight going on between those who advance the Gates agenda and those who understand that his monopolisation of research (and incestuous relationship with particular companies) is a dangerous one for refinement of drugs. It’s simply irresponsible not to report on these issues, however inconvenient it might be to bring them up.

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”

AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)

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2 Comments

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    May 31, 2010 at 8:20 am

    Gravatar

    It’s not research, don’t call it that. It’s marketing. Please call it correctly. New Speak can be ignored.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    To an outside observer it would be “weasel words” (calling research “marketing”). Let’s not preach only to the choir and instead make analysis more widely accessible.

    It is possible to show that research is “marketing” without actually stating this directly.

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