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Fund firms press pharms to boost developing world

A coalition of major fund management groups is warning pharmaceutical

companies that unless they boost access to urgently needed medicines

in developing nations they will face a damaging backlash.

The fund firms, which include Isis, Schroders and Jupiter, have

written to 20 leading pharmaceutical firms urging them to be more

proactive in their efforts to combat Aids and other diseases in

poorer countries such as in sub-Saharan Africa.

They are particularly concerned that the sector is blocking moves to

allow developing countries to bypass patents and want companies to

introduce differential pri-cing, which would link prices of expensive

drugs to what each country can afford.

The fund firms fear the public will lose confidence in pharmaceutical

firms, resulting in a long-term decline in their share values. Isis

says it expects to receive feedback from the companies within a year.

Isis senior analyst Olivia Lankester says: “We think the main

responsibility should be with governments but firms have got to take

action. Ongoing criticism will damage share value, long-term holdings

and firms&#39ability to protect patents.”

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