This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Search BBC
BBC World Service
BBC BBC News BBC Sport BBC Weather BBC World Service Worldservice languages
spacer gif
You are in: Home page > News English > Words in the News
Learning English
spacer gif
  Words in the News
  Health experts raised concerns following the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and Smithkline-Beecham which formed the world's largest pharmaceutical company.
  Audio Listen to the report in full

20th January 2000

Merger creates the world's largest
drugs company

  Audio Listen to Professor Tom Moffatt, Chief Scientist of Britain's Royal Pharmaceutical Society
    Over the last ten years, companies like Merck and Smithkline-Beecham have, in fact, provided the World Health Organisation with huge quantities of drugs - I'm talking about millions of dollars' worth of drugs - to try and eradicate particular diseases. Now they've manufactured those drugs and helped the World Health Organisation to treat those patients to try and eradicate the disease. If you think about it, that's totally alien to what a drug company might be expected to do because if you eradicate a disease, there's no need for that drug at all.

over: during

: to remove or destroy something completely

alien: completely unlike normal behaviour

NEWS 2    Audio Listen to Dr Mogha Smith, Health Policy Advisor for Oxfam.

In theory they would have more capacity to develop new drugs, but in practice, so far, we haven't seen any signs of any of the big companies investing in developing drugs that are specifically useful for poor people, and the other important thing is making drugs at a price affordable to poor people and to health services in poor countries. So if you create a giant company and you're developing a drug then you have a monopoly on that drug, and particularly with the new World Trade Organisation's agreements on intellectual property rights, it makes new inventions very well protected. Therefore, companies can dictate the price they want, and that makes it very difficult for poor people.


in theory: you use in theory to say that although something is supposed to happen or to be the case, it may not in fact happen or be the case.

capacity: here capacity means ability

in practice
: what happens in practice is what really happens, in contrast to what is supposed to happen.

affordable: if something is affordable, you have enough money to be able to pay for it

monopoly: the control or possession of a particular thing by only one person, group or, as in this case, organisation

intellectual property rights: legal rights protecting the results of creativity and giving the person or organisation owning the rights the right to control their use

dictate: here dictate means control

    Read about the background in BBC News Online

BBC copyright
Learning English | News English | Business English | Watch and Listen
Grammar and Vocabulary | Communicate | Quizzes | For teachers
Downloads | FAQ | Contact us