Marvin & Sybil Weiner Undergraduate Essay Prizes in the Humanities (2006-2007)

Document Type


Date of this Version

April 2007


First Prize, 2007 Marvin and Sybil Weiner Undergraduate Essay Prize in the Humanities, Penn Humanities Forum and Penn Library.



Pharmaceutical companies are in quite a predicament. With the majority of the global disease burden resting on the developing world and the vast majority of wealth residing in industrialized countries, these corporations are caught in a constant struggle between the altruistic inclinations they are expected to espouse and their responsibility to turn a profit. With the international community placing unprecedented emphasis on the universal right to health, the pharmaceutical industry has become a central facet of humanitarian work. In recent years, wealthy governments have funneled vast sums of money toward treating the world’s poor and the United Nations has allocated four of its eight Millennium Development Goals to specifically address health concerns. A passing glance at the issues most plaguing the world today will easily explain this new focus: one billion people worldwide lack access to clean water, eleven million die every year from infectious diseases, and the World Health Organization (WHO) now estimates the number of AIDS-related deaths to exceed three million annually. These tragedies produce ripple effects that can be felt throughout the inflicted nations and, because of our globalized society, throughout the world. We live amidst a global health crisis of the highest degree - one that simply cannot be addressed without the active participation of the pharmaceutical industry.



Date Posted: 07 August 2007