This pill makes you rich
September 12th 2008, 21:20
Let's get down to the real nitty-gritty of what medicine is all about - money. As stock watchers amongst you may know, Big Pharma is being marked down by City (and Wall Street) slickers, who are putting up 'Sell' notes wherever they are seeing a pharmaceutical company.
Why? Haven't drug companies found a cure for cancer yet? Or perhaps they're not getting the rapid recovery rate for their patients?
Not a bit of it. Had that been the criteria for drug companies' share price, they would have been in the bargain basement long since. No, the reason for the panic sell is simply that many drugs are now passing out of the protection of patent, and so can be copied - with very minor modifications - by all and sundry.
In the past few days, both AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have been downgraded because several of their key profit-making drugs are soon to pass out of patent. GSK, in particular, faces a turbulent 2009 as some of its hot-shot drugs suddenly face stiff competition from the 'me-too' boys who will be swamping the market with very similar concoctions.
It's sad that medicine is so judged. As I've often observed, what purports to be a benefactor of mankind is, in fact, purely an instrument of gain for shareholders.
And the sooner everyone wakes up to that reality, the sooner we may finally see a medical model that first serves mankind and its suffering.