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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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around two million dollars for the whole of Great Britain.

Q:

They were interested in health insurance, were they not?

Lasker:

Yes, they had health insurance but that's just a means of distributing the same ignorance that we already have or the same information that we already have. It's not a means of gathering any new information unfortunately. You just distribute it at whatever the level of medical knowledge and medical research is at that moment.

The United States' effort is just tooling up now for some very important breakthroughs, I think, but a tremendous lot has happened since '43, fantastic. In the first place, penicillin wasn't generally distributed in hospitals until 1945, and the penicillin availability was a result of the work of Florey and Chain and their team at Oxford, in whose honor we gave a rose garden at Magdalene. I'll tell you about that some other time. But the breakthrogh of penicillin by this group during the war was a fantastic contribution; it showed that not only all gram- positive bacteria or most all gram-positive bacteria could be treated with it and that major things like pneumonia and syphilis and yaws and gonorrhea and strep and staph infections, post-operative and other kinds of infections could be controlled and the death rate brought to almost nothing when people were properly treated, but it also led the way for work on streptomycin, which is an antibiotic for gram-negative



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