Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Profit War on Drugs

We've known this for years, but a government study has confirmed that Big Pharma spends most of its "research" money on modifying profitable drugs that already exist. The net result: fewer useful new drugs and more versions of Prozac.
Although drug makers typically justify the high cost of medicines by citing research expenses, a new government report says their research investments are mostly funding highly profitable modifications of existing drug designs, not new treatments.

Spending on research and development has increased over the past ten years, but a combination of factors has led the pharmaceutical industry to submit fewer drugs to the FDA for review, according to an investigation by the Government Accountability Office, which handles such inquiries for Congress.

The report blames the slowdown on a shortage of research scientists, the slow adaptation of expensive new technologies, and an industry-wide focus on profit. Out of the "new" medicines that companies have submitted for review, 68 percent are so-called "me-too drugs" – modified versions of existing drugs, which generate generous profits while carrying little risk of rejection.


Post a Comment

<< Home