Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is making its own contribution to lessening the impact of the global economic downturn by starting a program in the US which will see 70 of its products made available for free to people who have lost their job and health insurance. There are conditions, of course, but this type of philanthropy is not new to Pfizer which has previously provided drugs free on other programs. Cynics might suggest that this is just a way of ensuring brand loyalty - better to give the drugs to people rather than have them switch to generic brands - but whatever the reason is has to be seen as a positive effort. The scheme was first suggested about 5 weeks ago at a management training meeting - so it seems that that was one meeting worth having - and it suggests that Pfizer is prepared to think outside the box and be at least a little innovative in its dealings with its markets. Who would have thought that this was the same company that recently apparently announced price increases due to problems associated with ... the global economic downturn.