Thursday, November 17, 2005

shedding a tear for the big guys

A recent article in The New York Times documents the current downturn in drug company profits. Its been a tough time for the big companies with the whiz bang COX-2 arthritis drugs having pesky side effects like heart attack, stroke and oh, death. There was the terrible news that HRT is actually not the best thing since sliced bread after all. Then there were big selling drugs with patents expiring and companies desperately trying to replace them with new, more inferior and ridiculously expensive pills that don’t work as well.

The poor dears are loosing money. Job numbers are being cut. Profits are down. But don’t shed too many tears as these profits are still in the billions. But this is reason enough to cut the research budget. That is meant to make us scared. After all they haven't found a cure for the common cold yet.

Enter “bird flu”. We now have a holy trinity of coincidences. Drug companies needing a boost, a US president in need of a distraction and a dream possible pandemic in the wings.

The article does not name Roche amongst its story of woe. This is the company that makes Tamiflu, which has run off the shelves with leading countries buying millions of doses. They are so happy they have had to open new factories to keep up with demand. The flu that hasn’t happened, has the drug that has not been proven to work, for the people considered important enough to get the precious doses.

Nor does the article look at projected profits for these companies in the wake of buckets of money being thrown at the industry by petrified nations, to concoct a vaccine for the human virus that still hasn’t emerged.

All a strange coincidence? Stay tuned for the next killer disease . Sure 3 million deaths a year from AIDS alone isn’t enough, because most of them are poor people, so what’s in it for the pharma giants? Or lifestyle related preventable diseases – bowel cancer, alcoholism, lung cancer, heart disease. No, if this pandemic doesn’t pan out, I promise you a new drug treatable health crisis (menopause *tick* , high cholesterol *tick*, baldness *tick*, erectile dysfunction *tick*) will just have to be invented.

4 Comments:

Blogger flying kiwi said...

I read in the news today that Tamiflu had to add "delusions" to the list of possible side effects. Apparently two Japanese teenagers who took Tamiflu committed suicide...

12:41 pm  
Blogger guru Rex said...

It amazes me that people are so dumb they actually believe this hype they get from the media, big business and governments.

Just how much more terrorist threat, WMD's and bird flu hype can the public swallow before they throw up?

11:04 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

What amazes me more are the conversations I have with (usually) well informed, intelligent people who have not grasped the fact that bird flu has never been transmitted from person to person (only directly from poultry) therefor in the current form can never be the pandemic that is hyped.

All they here is "people die of bird flu" and then get scared and close down.

7:57 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Re Tamiflu - i am beginning to wonder if any pharmadrug is safe for teens as a number are linked to suicide. The most publicised being a number of common antidepressants...but they are still being prescribed to them (instead of?) like vitamin pills.

7:59 am  

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