A Dose of Compromise

Life was changing for the pharmaceutical industry even before the attacks on America. It had been a year of public relations embarrassments, including a lawsuit filed by 39 drug companies against South Africa over patent infringement legislation approved in a country where at least 4.7 million people are HIV positive. The suit was later withdrawn, but critics said the industry offered no social, political or ethical leadership in a global marketplace.

Then came Sept. 11. After the hijack terror followed bioterror — anthrax. Faced with the potential of a widespread public health emergency, U.S. officials scrambled to...

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