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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 353

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.

 

Publication type: Journal Article

Light DW, Lexchin J.
Will lower drug prices jeopardize drug research? A policy fact sheet
Am J Bioeth 2004 Winter; 4:(1):1-4
http://bioethics.net/journal/j_articles.php?aid=61


Abstract:

This documented fact sheet provides evidence that all drug research by large firms, net of taxpayers’ subsidies, is paid for out of domestic sales in each country, with profits to spare. Prices can be lower without jeopardizing basic research for new drugs. More exposure to global price competition would encourage more innovative research and less of the derivative me-too research that now dominates.

This documented fact sheet provides evidence that all drug research by large firms, net of taxpayers’ subsidies, is paid for out of domestic sales in each country, with profits to spare. Prices can be lower without jeopardizing basic research for new drugs. More exposure to global price competition would encourage more innovative research and less of the derivative me-too research that now dominates.

In the U.S., the FDA Commissioner, Mark McClellan, and the drug industry are responding to pressures for lower costs by mounting a large campaign to pressure all other affluent countries to raise their prices to U.S. levels. They claim that lower prices do not pay for drug research costs, but we provide evidence that this is untrue. Ultimately, however, such nationalistic arguments are based on regarding basic research and new discoveries, which can happen anywhere, and the cost of trials, which are carried out in the countries deemed most commercially advantageous, as part of national companies and national accounts, when in fact they are part of a global economy for pharmaceutical products.

 

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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909