Here’s a question for Big Pharma: How much is too much?

Posted: July 9, 2015 in Medical Industrial Complex
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

We are openly critical of the big pharmaceutical companies in our new release book MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures. Our criticism is tempered by the fact that – as we acknowledge more than once in our book – products developed, manufactured and marketed by Big Pharma save lives. (Some would argue they cost lives, too, but that’s another story).

MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: The $ickness Industry, Big Pharma and Suppressed Cures (The Underground Knowledge Series Book 3)

However, we keep coming back to the questions that crop up whenever the pharmaceutical companies and their modus operandi are analyzed. Questions like: Why is so little money ploughed back into research? Why the continuing emphasis on treatments ahead of cures? And, regarding revenues and profits, how much is too much?

BBC News addresses this very issue in a report aired on November 6, 2014 under the title ‘Pharmaceutical industry gets high on fat profits.’ The report asks people to imagine an industry that generates higher profit margins than any other and is no stranger to multi-billion dollar fines for malpractice.

“Throw in widespread accusations of collusion and over-charging, and banking no doubt springs to mind. In fact, the industry described above is responsible for the development of medicines to save lives and alleviate suffering, not the generation of profit for its own sake”.

The BBC News report reminds us that pharmaceutical companies have, by far, developed  most medicines known to Man, but have profited big-time in the process – “and not always by legitimate means”.

It continues, “Last year, US giant Pfizer, the world’s largest drug company by pharmaceutical revenue, made an eye-watering 42% profit margin… five pharmaceutical companies made a profit margin of 20% or more…With some drugs costing upwards of $100,000 for a full course, and with the cost of manufacturing just a tiny fraction of this, it’s not hard to see why…

“Drug companies justify the high prices they charge by arguing that their research and development (R&D) costs are huge. On average, only three in 10 drugs launched are profitable, with one of those going on to be a blockbuster with $1bn-plus revenues a year…

“But … drug companies spend far more on marketing drugs – in some cases twice as much – than on developing them. And besides, profit margins take into account R&D costs”.

The report concludes that the industry also argues that the wider value of the drug needs to be considered. However, it (BBC News) rightly points out that just because you can charge a high price for something does not necessarily mean you should. Especially when you factor in the lives at stake in the healthcare field.

The problem with that is – as we see it – the pharmaceutical companies and the shareholders they answer to would quickly dismiss such a rationale. They’re solely focused on the bottom line: profit.

Profit is not necessarily a dirty word when it comes to healthcare. We happen to believe capitalism, if managed properly, can actually work well in medicine. Profit incentives can spark imaginations in pharmacists and healthcare entrepreneurs and doctors as there’s the reward aspect in capitalism which motivates people to find medical cures.

Otherwise, as evidenced in the past in places like Eastern Europe, when things go to the other extreme and there’s too much government interference it can be just as crippling and corrupting for essential services such as healthcare. With little to no financial rewards on offer under communism, or even under some forms of socialism, most workers are less motivated – medical and healthcare workers included.

Somehow there needs to be a balance between governments and non-profit review committees to ensure mainstream medicine has a social conscience whilst still allowing the free market to work its magic.

…In the pharmaceutical industry’s haste to get drugs to market, critics say safety usually comes a distance second to profits. Little wonder then that mistakes occur and the line between legitimate and spurious business practices is oftentimes blurred.

We explore this untenable situation in the next chapter.

You have been reading an excerpt from Medical Industrial Complex.

The book is available via Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MEDICAL-INDUSTRIAL-COMPLEX-Suppressed-Underground-ebook/dp/B00Y8Y3TUM/

***************************************************************

Advertisements

Leave a Reply (email address NOT required)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s