Another one for the “narrow focus kills millions” department:
Wikipedia on Rotavirus Vaccines, which are improving and will save *millions* of people:
An earlier vaccine, Rotashield by Wyeth-Ayerst, had to be taken off the market in the late 1990s after it was discovered in rare cases to be linked to a severe complication called intussusception. This event was so rare that widespread adoption of Rotashield in developing countries would nevertheless have saved millions of lives, but use of a vaccine deemed unsafe in the U.S. was seen as unacceptable.
Also notable is the fact that the new vaccines are very expensive in USA but heavily subsidized in developing world. However still it appears too expensive for widespread use. I remain unclear on how the pharma industry fits into the big picture but it’s a topic I’d like to take on soon as personal research.
When I’ve looked into specifics it generally appears they actually are NOT profiteering from the poor (though certainly they milk the rich like crazy, manipulating people with TV advertising and doctors with freebies). However it seems to me that in developing countries the big pharmas often do the right thing and either give away or heavily discount life saving drugs. But many activists argue they are the major part of the problem – I think due to big pharma’s opposition to widespread generics.
Unfortunately much of that debate is mired in socialist economic diatribes which often suggest that anything corporate is evil, and therefore not reasonably considered part of a solution, rather than looking for the optimal solution point.