Some facts about pharmaceuticals

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by Dr Gregg, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Dr Gregg
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    Wanted to clear up the ignorance I hear many times from people when they start blasting pharmaceutical companies and the drug prices, many thinking they should just give the drug away. I do so because this is some dangerous thinking that could stifle innovative new drugs.

    For one, pharmaceuticals are not like any other type of product out there, due to the huge amounts of time, money, resource, risk and all the regulatory hurdles that need to be overcome in order to make a successful new drug. It costs on average 800 million dollars (this does include the failures that often occur in development) and about 10 years for a drug to get to market, with a huge failure rate. There is a huge amount of risk involved, and not every company out there has a blockbuster drug to fund their R&D efforts, or to buy licenses from smaller companies to continue the devopment of their product, so lots of investment at early stages are required. Investors who are willing to part with millions of dollars on a very risky business venture, expect a high return on their investment. higher the risk, the higher the reward.

    Patents only last 20 years from the filing date, and may take up to 3 years to be examined and issued, so often times companies have only 7-10 years to recoup theirs losses and make a profit, and pay off investors. Now consider a company that has developed a drug for a disease that doens't effect a lot of people, they have to charge even more for their drug to recoup losses, pay out investors and make a profit. not every drug is a blockbuster that is used by millions of people a year.

    So before people go arguing that patents shouldn't last that long, or that drug prices should be regulated, think about the things I mentioned. having been reading a lot about what goes into drug development, it amazes me drugs even come out with all that is required and needs to be overcome to develop a drug.
     
  2. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Lets also put to bed the myth that improting drugs from canada is unsafe becuase they are made out side the USA.

    Many/most drugs are actually manufactured outside the USA.
     
  3. Dr Gregg
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    Yeah, but if these imported drugs violate a patent agreement, to me that's pretty garbage policy, as it rewards people that don't do any work, they just steal someone else's innovation and hard work and investment. And a lot of times,countries like canada demand drugs at a reduced price, along with other countries, requiring the pharm companies to charge more to americans to subsidize this, being that we are the largest market in the world for drugs. I think the problem with drugs from canada is that the companies sell the reduced price drugs to canada because of the gov't regulating prices, and then they try to sell those reduced priced drugs in america. If the US started regulating the prices of drug, and the companies lose their biggest market and can't recoup their losses in R&D, who's going to do all that for little reward?
     
  4. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    The drug industry also gets free research from the feds.

    I think about 17% of gross is routed back in for drug R&D.

    I did some research on this a while back and most of the major companies seemed to hit around that figure.

    I think a higher figure is spent on advertising prescriptions drugs.
     
  5. Dr Gregg
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    yeah, they do a lot of the basic research to identify therapeutic targets, and maybe some early development like animal models. But even with that, it still costs so much money, as the most costly aspect (and where many drugs fail) is the clinical trials. Academia could never take any of their discoveries to market due to this huge cost.
     
  6. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    Acedemia is not the only source. The National instututes of health?
    NISHI or somesuch? I forget the name.
    The drug industry is actually subsidized in a very large part thru federal tax dollars.
    From disease and medical research to non price bargaining on the pill bill, etc.
    How many drugs does medicare and medicaid pay for each year?
    The Veterans Administration?

    And in my opinion direct consumer advertising of prescription medicine is wrong.

    The drug industry is out to make profits they are not saints that are concerned about our health.

    They actually actively oppose alternative cures that do not require prescription medicines.
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  7. Dr Gregg
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    Every company is out to make money, why work so hard for free?. I agree with the direct to customer marketing, I wish they would make that illegal *(but the recent scotus decision could challenge any law doing so). The gov't gets discounted drugs for medicare/medicaid, o I hardly think its "subsidizing" the companies, as they get drugs at a bargian price (probably screwing the rest of us with higher pricing). Granted, not every company is a Pfizer, Astra-Zeneca and the major giant companies, there are many start up and small businesses that need these companies to buy their product licenses and further develop and market the drug. It's their essential way to raise money and "cash out" for the inventors.

    Opposing alternative cures IMO is bogus, any proof of that? many of the "alternatives treamtents and natural herbs" never have to undergo clinical trials, never have to prove they actually are effective, just make the claim and that's it. that's another ignorant thing you hear often, like "they don't want to come up with a cure, they just want to treat", which is just bogus as any company that came up with a "cure"would make billions, and there is competition out there. Plus, the nature of the diseases and medicine makes it hard to actually "cure" a disease, as many times they are caused by defective body parts, missing proteins or defective proteins, so unless you can permanently replace those proteins, then all you can do is treat.
     
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    Oh, and academia I include the NIH and all the other gov't entities that do research and fund research, as they tend to be very similiar in their quest to find basic research findings
     
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    I can't really disagree with what you say. We are just slanted a bit differently on the subject.

    On the advertising. A simple tax code change eliminating presc drugs from deductable status shuld cover that.
     
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    Also the commercial need to go they promote selling pills over good health practices.

    Got heartburn from eating burritoes? Just eat more pills and keep eating the burritoes.

    Got pain from doing that? Eat a pill and go wild.. Ignore the fact that your body is sending you a message...
     

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