James Moore: Swines? No, they deserve it

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The Independent Online

Step forward Andrew Witty, this week's epitome of corporate evil. Mr Witty is chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline and his company stands to make an awful lot of money out of swine flu.

What is more, he had the cheek to refuse to make any kind of apology for that as the company presented its results yesterday. Mr Witty would be well advised to make like an underperforming England football manager and stick his head in a paper bag for a few weeks. He is about to become as popular as the swine flu GSK is trying to prevent, which is really the point. We all desperately want to see a successful vaccine made widely available as quickly as possible. For that to happen, however, it requires companies to be willing to risk substantial amounts of shareholders' hard-earned cash. They will only do that if they can see a return at the end of the process.

GSK has the talent and capability to knock this nasty little virus on the head more quickly and more efficiently than any government or NGO – that is why it was selected by the World Health Organisation to produce a vaccine. We should be thanking Mr Witty rather than trashing him. At the moment, we need him and his company.