You raise a lot of valid points, but we will have to agree to disagree. I can agree that in the past Big Pharm was on the way to doing amazing things, and used its time, funding and effort to make a profit but also to pursue the development of products that were necessary and useful.
That time has passed. I would say that stopped in the 90s when Big Pharma started seeing 300% profit margins. Ever since then, the business model has been all about that and by any means necessary. I have seen, (and I am sure you have too) this industry change over time. I have seen how they have figured out how to manipulate regulations, manipulate their way around the patents, and successfully pursue the 300% profit margins they received with drugs like viagra and prozac. I have actually seen pharma sales reps pitch doctors. It’s ugly, because it is clear that the intent is just to sell more drugs, by any means necessary, and they are not the least bit concerned about the effects of these drugs on the patients.
You imply that people are angry about Big Pharm, because they can’t get their drugs for free. I find that people are angry about the fact that Big Pharma’s profit margin continues to grow exponentially, meanwhile healthcare in this country is the worst in the industrialized world; and I also think people are angry because they are realizing that they don’t need the drugs that Big Pharma is pushing, and would rather pursue other options.
My sister told me that she sat in on a healthcare focus group (in Cleveland, Ohio, where the industry is cutting edge). She told me, there were lots of questions about the drugs, and that within the focus group there was quite a backlash to it. People felt as if they were being over-prescribed, and that the drugs were not helpful. The focus group moderators took special interest in this response, as opposed to all the others. Why? I suspect that Big Pharma is alarmed that people are getting hip to their game. But people are wanting something more from their healthcare beyond a lot of pills. If people do not want to buy what you are selling, you should not be able to shove it down their throats. But Big Pharma does this, in more ways than one, especially by the way it has it’s tentacles in medicare and medicaid.
There is no excuse for it; and there is anger because Big Pharm drives the industry. This is not how a free market works. The market is not free when you literally have corporate thugs and drug dealers driving the manner in which the market operates — and they do. Americans consume far more pharmaceuticals than anyone else in the world. We are way beyond overkill. I just read, in the post that Big Pharma hired almost all of the senior DEA officials for their compliance efforts. Why? So they can figure out how to get their addictive opiods back on the market.
I don’t just rail against industry for kicks. I research and read, incessantly, about whatever interests me and affects my life. This response is the result of years of researching the products Big Pharma offers, at what price, and the potential the side effects. Based on my personal experience and research, I believe this is not an industry to be trusted. But, as you aptly observed, I don’t really believe any of them are.
I think that we just happen to be living through a period in history where the corruption levels- via profit seeking- have exploded in all the industries, all of them. IT has allowed for so many clever and innovative ways to pursue profit by any means necessary, and to circumvent safeguards that are in place to ensure safety and integrity of a product, whatever the product is. As a result, the past 30 years we have been on the receiving end of crappier and crappier products, for higher costs and now it has reached a point of being almost totally untenable. No one wants to pay, and (pay a lot) for crap. What is going on with healthcare in this country is disgraceful and Big Pharm and Big Med together have a monopoly on how that industry works. It doesn’t work to the advantage of people/patients at all.
Cancer is a trillion dollar industry…a trillion dollars and no cure? A trillion dollars and nothing better than cut/burn/kill as a strategy? Which is totally illogical to begin with. Cancer is a cellular problem. The research should be around figuring out a way to make the cells behave properly, not cutting, killing them with extraordinarily toxic chemotherapy (that costs thousands btw) and radiating them with a multi-million dollar machine.
But the cancer industry is highly invested in this mode of treatment, because the profit margin is probably in the billions. And so it doesn’t really matter that the treatment is only slightly better than the disease; and neither does it matter that it is often ineffective. (It’s not a cure, cancer comes back, and patients and insurance companies have to spend thousands AGAIN to battle it.) But can you really tell me that this industry has any incentive to change the way it treats cancer when it has built a trillion dollar industry around this treatment? Of course you can’t. But you might. I won’t believe it though.