Sunday, July 11, 2010

In defense of pharmaceutical companies

In the comments sections, some of you criticize the pharmaceutical companies of being greedy and doing the trials for the money. Let me ask you a simple question: Would you be willing to risk your savings in trials that take years and millions of dollars to complete with the risk getting no return whatsoever? Let's take Pagoclone. Let's assume the trials were not successful. Indevus and Teva have lost millions of dollars and years of their company's life. Not only did they loose millions, but they also had an opportunity cost in that they could not invest the money otherwise.
Sure, they can make millions or even billions with successful drugs, but they need to risk a lot. The restrictions are getting greater, and more costly. Only the desire of making money, i.e. greed, makes progress possible. No money, no progress. Without greed, no medication. Society needs to reward them. Of course, you can imagine that the companies are sometimes pushing the limits. Imagine you are stuck in a situation where you have invested millions and years, how would you react if the drug is on the edge from being licensed or not? You would do anything possibly to twist the drug into the market. So it's important that government but also bloggers keep watching them, so they do not stray from the right path.
You should also consider that human beings are working in the pharmaceutical industry, and they are not worse than any of us. They spent a lot of time and efforts to get the trials arranged. They spent time in labs or behind computers to get the compounds isolated. They might have spend years and get no return...


SuhrMesa said...

We are currently living in a time where "Greed" [desire to profit from an innovation] and Risk are bad words. Of course, history says this is childish and emotional. One of the most important ideas that changed the world was allowing for the ownership of ideas. This lead to the ability to profit from an idea. Innovators will take calculated risk and change the world. Without Risk and "Greed", we will have no progress. Flee from those that promise to provide provisions and remove risk from your life.

Anonymous said...

I agree but it will be tougher to convince people that are already biased against pharma. I did especially like your one sentence and wanted to highlight it: "You should also consider that human beings are working in the pharmaceutical industry, and they are not worse than any of us." I do not work for pharma but I have friends that do and they work very hard and are good people, trying to make a positive difference in the world.