Best Problem Solver

She helps bring promising treatments to the impoverished around the world.

from Reader's Digest Magazine | May 2005

The problem: finding cures for the diseases of poverty, which kill millions worldwide, but get little attention from big drug companies, mostly because even promising treatments won’t be profitable. The problem solver: Victoria Hale and the Institute for OneWorld Health (IOWH), America’s first nonprofit pharmaceutical company. How it works: Pharmaceutical companies donate patents from compounds they aren’t using. Then, with help from donors like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, IOWH develops the compounds into drugs for developing-world diseases. “Just because big pharmaceutical companies have the most resources doesn’t mean they’re the most able to go after diseases of the poor,” says Hale. IOWH’s pipeline also includes drugs for malaria and diarrhea. Generous groups are starting to offer more patents, but, Hale says, “we only want to accept what we can develop” — so promising treatments don’t sit on the shelf.

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