Month: February 2008

Big Pharma: Bad Science AND Bad Business

As promised, we’ve been hot on the trail of Big Pharma lately, passing along every bit of damning truth we can find. This Sunday’s LATimes carried an article we call an “essential read” for anyone who’s been following and cursing the industry’s exploitation of the American public.
The strategy that has made the pharmaceutical industry one of the wealthiest and most powerful on Earth is finally starting to betray it. Beginning in just a few weeks, and continuing over the next several years, some of the biggest-selling and most profitable drugs in history will lose their patent protection. …The real problem is that the industry’s scientists have hit a dry spell. They are not discovering enough new drugs to replace the aging standbys. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved just 19 new medicines, according to preliminary data, the fewest since 1983. Lost in all the hand-wringing on Wall Street is a recognition of how the industry got itself into this fix in the first place. For 25 years, the drug industry has imitated the basic business model of Hollywood. Pharmaceutical executives, like movie moguls, have focused on creating blockbusters. …The strategy had a flaw that executives have long ignored: It required extraordinary amounts of promotion at the expense of scientific creativity. To make the strategy work, the drug industry put its marketers in charge; scientists were given a back seat. Is it any wonder that executives at many companies have watched their pipelines of new drugs slow to a trickle?
via LA Times

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