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if you still have faith in drugs companies in the middle of swine flu..

(11 Posts)
stuffitlllama Wed 05-Aug-09 06:42:12

read this

all about protecting profits rather than lives in Africa

just a taster

"A detailed study by Dr Marcia Angell, the former editor of the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, says that only 14 per cent of their budgets go on developing drugs – usually at the uncreative final part of the drug-trail. The rest goes on marketing and profits. And even with that puny 14 per cent, drug companies squander a fortune developing "me-too" drugs – medicines that do exactly the same job as a drug that already exists, but has one molecule different, so they can take out a new patent, and receive another avalanche of profits."

stuffitlllama Wed 05-Aug-09 17:57:23

oh what the hell

bump smile

sarah293 Wed 05-Aug-09 18:00:14

Message withdrawn

sarah293 Wed 05-Aug-09 18:00:34

Message withdrawn

stuffitlllama Wed 05-Aug-09 18:03:52

i knew someone would be interested apart from me grin

ghastly bloody bunch

lozza6105 Thu 06-Aug-09 19:27:40

Whilst I agree with the sentiments of the article, the stages of drug development explained here are just plain wrong. The majority of drug development is not funded by the taxpayer. Also, his solution to the problem would not work- who would fund the research needed to develop a drug at the beginning? Its all very well saying that they would give the cash prize to the 'winner' but the money to get to that point needs to come from somewhere.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 06-Aug-09 19:47:24

Yes drug companies spend too much on marketing. (I'm somewhat relaxed about their profits as I want a pension someday.
Drug companies are one of the relatively few commercial enterprises which genuinely tend to improve the lot of man and beast. )

Yes, there should be better ways to manage intellectual property rights so that medicines can be delivered to the sick but retaining the means to fund development. Unfortunatly the proposed solution in this article seems unlikely to materialize. Governments of the western world dont have multi-billion sums available right now. All they have is taxpayers and deficits.

I am also quite hmm at the ignorance of the quoted comment "medicines that do exactly the same job as a drug that already exists, but has one molecule different"

duh. most medicines are a single molecule so that makes no sense. Perhaps the writer meant a single atom different. But even one atom different and a drug won't do exactly the same as its analogue. (and most patents cover classes of molecules so the me-toos can't be that similar anyway). The writer clearly has no idea how bloody difficult it is to design new drugs. I don't know about faith in drug companies but I've not much faith in a journo who doesn't understand the very basic science underlying his subject.

edam Thu 06-Aug-09 19:51:39

Fair points from Grimma, journalist clearly got that bit wrong, but equally there is a real issue about 'me too' drugs. And Dr Angell is quite right that drug companies spend far more on marketing than they do on drug development.

(I once heard the ABPI head honcho describing developing new drugs as 'bringing a new molecule to market' so have always assumed a new drug is a new molecule.)

GrimmaTheNome Thu 06-Aug-09 20:04:42

I'm not sure that even 'me-too' drugs should be viewed totally askance - since unless the competitor comes up with something which is actually in some way better it isn't too likely to succeed. Do we want to say, ok, that drug works quite well for most people with not too many side effects and leave it there?

No-one complains about the fortunes spent by the motor industry developing 'me-too' cars.

Me-to drugs for diseases of the rich aren't the real problem. What is much more difficult is how to fund research into poor peoples diseases. Bill Gates and his ilk seem to be the best hope I suspect.

edam Thu 06-Aug-09 21:39:12

Actutally I'd quite happily debate the merits of me-too cars, might help the environment a bit. (I used to work for Which? and the car guys there told me if people only worried about sensible stuff, like getting from A to B and reliability, we'd all be driving Toyotas. Think it was Toyota Corolla, at the time.)

Me-too drugs aren't necessarily helpful. Slight tangent, but I rely on regular medicine. Pharmacist switched me, on his own initiative and without even bothering to ask me or my GP or my consultant, to a generic (patent had just expired). I checked the label, and new version had included a common food allergen. Why they had chosen to add this in, I do not know.

(I objected, strenuously, as for my particular condition/medicine you can't just chuck in a generic, it actually matters, but had a huge fight on my hands.)

stuffitlllama Fri 07-Aug-09 17:46:43

Sorry for not coming back earlier.

Grimma I find your statement that you are relaxed about their profits because you want your pension rather unpleasant.

The aim of a drug company is not to genuinely improve the lot of man and beast but to make a profit. Many people who work there do so in good faith I know. But the aim is to make a profit and if the cost involves NOT genuinely improving the lot of man and beast then profit comes first.

The journalist may have got the molecule out of place but he seems to have a fairly clear of the justice or otherwise of patent law. Finding fault with that part of the article is your way of dismissing more or less the whole thing.

What is your feeling about charity funds for pharmaceutical research? All these people doing fun runs because their wife had breast cancer -- to fund research to produce a drug which is so expensive (because of your lovely pensions) that the NHS cannot afford to buy it?

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