Pharmaceutical companies certainly should reduce the prices of medicines for developing countries (as Labour's Gordon Brown and Clare Short are urging).

But cheaper drugs are only part of the solution.

People across the developing world are dying of starvation and war.

People everywhere need good housing, clean water and an improved environment, as well as basic healthcare services.

Developing countries are paying up to three times as much in servicing their debt to the richer countries as they are on public services for their own people.

What governments in the richer countries need to do is cancel the developing world debt and support positive health measures - as well as combating anti-health forces such as arms and tobacco industries, and restraining the pharmaceutical giants, whose business is, after all, creating business and maximising profits.

Public health, locally or globally, cannot be left to private hands.

John Nicholson Chief executive UK Public Health Association Manchester M12