Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, July 7, 2004

The Big Health Marketing Machine

"Every day Americans are subjected to a barrage of advertising by the pharmaceutical industry. Mixed in with the pitches for a particular drug--usually featuring beautiful people enjoying themselves in the great outdoors--is a more general message. Boiled down to its essentials, it is this: "Yes, prescription drugs are expensive, but that shows how valuable they are. Besides, our research and development costs are enormous, and we need to cover them somehow. As 'research-based' companies, we turn out a steady stream of innovative medicines that lengthen life, enhance its quality, and avert more expensive medical care. You are the beneficiaries of this ongoing achievement of the American free enterprise system, so be grateful, quit whining, and pay up." Is any of this true?"..."The industry is also being hit with a tidal wave of government investigations and civil and criminal lawsuits. The litany of charges includes illegally overcharging Medicaid and Medicare, paying kickbacks to doctors, engag-ing in anticompetitive practices, colluding with generic companies to keep generic drugs off the market, illegally promoting drugs for unapproved uses, engaging in misleading direct-to-consumer advertising, and, of course, covering up evidence. ... Instead of being an engine of innovation, it is a vast marketing machine. Instead of being a free market success story, it lives off government-funded research and monopoly rights. ...But big pharma is extravagantly rewarded for its relatively modest functions. We get nowhere near our money's worth. The United States can no longer afford it in its present form." Can we?



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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, July 7 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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