The History of Pfizer and Penicillin, and Lessons for Coronavirus

Often lost in election-cycle diatribes against Big Pharma—which come from all sides—is the power of industry to come together in times of crisis and save lives.

Stories of battlefield heroism during World War II are well known. Lesser known, but relevant for today’s fight against the novel coronavirus, is the story of Pfizer’s Jasper Kane and John McKeen. Kane and McKeen pioneered the mass production of penicillin. Their breakthrough, together with others made by scientists and engineers at the nation’s industrial labs, helped…

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