• TiredThinker
    314
    Many people like to discuss the pharmaceutical companies as a kind of leach that creates expensive treatments that just about never go down in price, but very rarely cures. Like their only incentive could ever be keeping people sick. Is it helpful to discuss them in that fashion? Does it light a fire beneath them, or are they actually doing their best and nothing anyone says could have any meaningful effect?
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    9.4k
    As with any company, the balance sheet is what is important. That only sick people use pharmaceuticals is a long outdated idea. But it may be the case that a lot of fancy names are given to the conditions of non-sick people, to help ease them into the pharmaceutical market, in case that old idea might still persist. In many cases though, pharmaceuticals are used just to make one feel better, and so they are often not intended to cure.
  • TiredThinker
    314
    It's an interesting time when they are essentially forced to create vaccines for Covid-19 and sell largely at cost to the government. Smart law making.

    I just wonder if the incentive could ever be great enough to create more cures if only to put other pharm companies out of business.
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    Big Pharma, I'm sorry to say, isn't a conglomerate of benevolent business entities. Profits matter, existentially that is and so much of their rationale in re inventing/discovering medicines is statistical: they will invest in research on diseases that are common and ignore diseases that have frequencies of 1:10,000,000 (there must be a threshold disease rate below which the profit margin is 0 or negative).
  • Nils Loc
    1k


    As has been discussed recently on the Rogan podcast with John Abramson, these companies are sometimes allowed to market drugs that have near statistically negligible effects compared with a placebo. One would wonder how this is possible without regulatory capture. Merck committed fraud with the Vioxx case, manipulating/hiding data concerning heart attack risk. It's amazing to think that a pharmaceutical company would knowingly market a drug that causes harm because they calculate that the fines for law suit backlash are acceptable.

    It's all very insane. We, the people, should be doing a lot more to change the absurdities of healthcare in the U.S. But we're busy living our lives.
  • KantDane21
    7
    pharmaceutical companies as a kind of leach that creates expensive treatments that just about never go down in price, but very rarely cures.TiredThinker

    I think that is fair to the majority of BigPharma, however not to the researchers behind their medicines.Big Pharma CEOs, and all general business majors and have little knowledge of science/pharmacology.
  • TiredThinker
    314
    Indeed. Kind of like how business people that aren't mechanics can screw up the car industries.
  • Raymond
    649
    I think that is fair to the majority of BigPharma, however not to the researchers behind their medicinesKantDane21

    People behind the leach, giving it the means to be a leach are even bigger leaches. Or are they truly that naive?

    Kind of like how business people that aren't mechanics can screw up the car industries.TiredThinker

    But with cars, no people get screwed.
  • TiredThinker
    314


    They do when corners are cut.
  • john27
    661


    A portion of grant money does go to basic sciences and the exploration of "science" in it's more pure form, but yeah, they have a tendency to reinvest in things that work, or things that we know that work.
  • god must be atheist
    3.8k
    I may be lynched for what I say, but this is what it is in my opinion:

    1. Big pharma is business; it likes to make a profit.
    2. Its profit is based on the success of its business plan.
    3. Its business plan is to make drugs that cure sickness or else treat them to make them symptomless.
    4. Its goal is androgynist: to take money out of the pockets of people. Its business plan is benevolent and helpful for the sick, the downtrodden and the brokenhearted.
    5. People tend to focus on the goal. Not on the business plan.
    6. People hate paying money, so they create theories that besmirch the business plan.
    -----------
    Given that, you also must think about:

    1. Drugs are chemicals.
    2. Chemical reactions are unpredictable (largely) by molecular structure alone.
    3. Big Pharma makes drugs this way: randomly or semi-randomly create all kinds of chemicals. Test them on all kinds of diseases. If they cure/ help symptoms disappear, they are commercialized.
    4. The creation and testing, because it is not predictable, take a LOT of time and effort. Money.
    5. The pharma has to recover the costs. Hence new drugs are copyrighted, and protected. Big pharma has no fear of copycats for 17 years.
    6. This does not work this way: big pharma decides to make only drugs that alleviate symptoms, but not drugs which are curative in nature.
    Proof: the big pharma deals with chemicals that are numerous and unknown for their effects for each change of molecular structure in them. So they CAN NOT make a decision "let's aim only for symptom alleviation, not for cure". Whatever works is fine, but Big Pharma can't create something on the strength of chemical theory; they can only create by random design and random execution. So the reason they create symptom alleviating drugs, not curative-strength drugs is not a control issue, but a flaw or difficulty that the research process is riddled with by necessary operational uses and will use.
  • Agent Smith
    1.2k
    chemicalsgod must be atheist

    Chemistry (pharmacological products) and physics (machines) are big businesses. Biology, back in the day, was mostly a substitute for physics (slave-machine), but of course it all boiled down to (bio)chemistry (metabolism).

    When can biology, in and of itself, help us mint money? Assuming, of course, it hasn't already.
  • ssu
    4.9k
    Many people like to discuss the pharmaceutical companies as a kind of leach that creates expensive treatments that just about never go down in price, but very rarely cures. Like their only incentive could ever be keeping people sick. Is it helpful to discuss them in that fashion? Does it light a fire beneath them, or are they actually doing their best and nothing anyone says could have any meaningful effect?TiredThinker

    Some criticism is needed, but then again, the industry has to be understood.

    Which is preferable for a pharmaceutical company: to create a vaccine or have people eat daily medicine doses for the rest of their lives?

    Now the answer would seem to have vaccine shots for the rest of their lives, but I think people get the drift. Naturally having people eat daily their medicine is the more profitable option. A huge pharmaceutical company might get the vast bulk of it's revenue from only a few medicines and once those patents run out and others can produce cheaper alternatives, the "gold mine" of a successful medicine dries up. That the R&D costs much it's a gamble. And creating vaccines was very difficult and a long process (as Operation Warp Speed isn't the typical way these things are done).

    In the US this whole debate gains a totally different perspective as the whole system is so absolutely flawed and performs so poorly by every standard, that it's understandable that people might think of "big-pharma" as something nearly evil. Yet here one has to remember that if you really would have universal health care coverage, the companies would adapt in no time to the new environment. After all, the do just great also in countries with universal health care and cheap medicines.
  • I like sushi
    3.1k
    Big Pharma will be dead once CRISPR hits its stride. Anyone will be able to cure anything … and change themselves.

    We’re the tail end of the species prior to its leap into godhood. Perhaps some people alive today will be those but I’m probably a few decades too old to see it hit full effect. Big Pharma will try and hold it back but it is inevitable.
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