Why don’t we give drug companies enough credit?

pfizerThe blogosphere is alive with comments about the record breaking US$2.3bn fine that the American Department of Justice has slapped on drug company Pfizer. A quick look at the blogs will show you that according to many “Big Pharma” is finally getting the expensive medicine it deserves.

But is that entirely fair?

Why are we so quick to attack drug companies and glory in their misfortune? These are after all the same people who come up with vaccines, painkillers and antiviral drugs to stop us getting ill arent they?
It is true pharmaceuticals make large profits and that there is fraud in the industry. But they are a business like any other. Since the development of industrialised healthcare, humanity has surely benefited more than any pharmaceutical company executive. Why do we resent drug companies so much? We put a lot of trust in drug companies. We trust that the substances they provide us with to cure trauma and disease or just to get through the next horrible hangover will do what they say and leave us better off. Why then are pharmaceutical giants the objects of such resentment and distrust?

5 Responses to “Why don’t we give drug companies enough credit?”

  1. 1 T
    September 3, 2009 at 21:49

    Look at what many of them do? All that matters is profit. All that matters is huge bonuses and golden parachutes for executives. In this global greed-is-good mentality, they have nobody to blame but themselves for their lousy image.

  2. 2 patti in cape coral
    September 3, 2009 at 23:17

    At my job we get drug representatives buying the whole building lunch about a couple of times a week. At that time they give the doctor their schpeil (sp) about this new drug and how wonderful it is. They will usually leave a bunch of samples. The doctors will then give these out to the patients and see if they work for them. I would agree with T, part of the resentment is because they appear greedy.

  3. 3 Tan Boon Tee
    September 4, 2009 at 04:23

    This serves as a strong reminder to all Big Pharmas.

    Never go for quick immense profit or instant massive wealth at the expense of ignorant consumers.

  4. 4 david sant
    September 4, 2009 at 13:07

    Recently i read a comment that if all drug companies agreed to stop the supply of freebies to their clients,for a period of 1 year. 1 million childrens lives could be saved by using the savings to supply drugs to these poor souls.But of course this will not happen.Greed always takes precedent over goodwill and compassion.

  5. 5 Malcolm McMahon
    October 3, 2009 at 09:36

    The problem is that they aren’t “a business like any other”. The difference is that the enormous expense of getting a new drug approved creates a huge entry barrier to the market, allowing a small number of huge firms to dominate.

    In a more competitive market a much wider range of solutions would be generated.

    As it is, for example, treatment is infinitely more profitable than cure. Remember the business of stomach ulcers and Helicobactor Pillori? Is it coincidence that the simple bismuth based treatment didn’t emerge until shortly after the patents on the highly lucrative acid control drugs expired? I wonder how many more cheap and simple cures might be being sat on. I’m sure the industry would kill to suppress a cure for the common cold.

    This may be a radical thing to suggest but I think that the conditions to get a new treatment approved should be relaxed somewhat. Sure there would be people damaged or killed by unexpected side effects, but I suspect rather more people are currently suffering as for the lack of drugs that don’t make it through the approval process.

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