Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Wants of companies when selling medicine

This is my prediction on the wants of companies when selling medicine.
  • Long period of patent protection (more profits);
  • No government price negotiations;
  • Companies don't want imported medicine which can compete with theirs;
  • Companies do not want cheap copies of theirs products even after their patents expire;
  • They want to have a say in who makes it even after their patents expire;
  • Companies hate compulsory licensing, like in India, or any other manner of control on the price;
  • Companies like to create medicines for rich people's diseases like diabetes but not poor people's diseases like malaria;

Reported in The Washington Post “drug companies say high prices are necessary to cover their research to cover their research and development costs, enabling them to discover innovative new medicines. ’’
In 1953, a new drug was released by Burroughs Wellcome, a pharmaceutical company based in London.  The medications name was Pyrimethamine it was originally intended to fight malaria, after the microorganisms that cause the disease developed resistance to earlier therapies. The drug was used against malaria for several decades.
More than 40 years later, Burroughs Wellcome merged with the British pharmaceutical giant Glaxo. In 2010, the company, now GlaxoSmithKline, sold the U.S. rights to pyrimethamine.By then, the patent on the drug had long since expired, but because nobody bothered to make a generic.
In August 2015, there was another significant development in the drug’s history: CorePharma’s parent company, Impax Laboratories, sold it to Turing Pharmaceuticals. Almost immediately, the company raised the price from $18 a pill to $750 and this past week it sent its brash chief executive, Martin Shkreli, out to aggressively defend the new cost. A course of treatment for toxoplasmosis is about 100 pills, which under the new pricing would run $75,000. Why the astonishing increase? The answer is: Why not
WASHINGTON POST. (2015) Why do drug companies charge so much? Because they can. [Online] Available from:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-do-drug-companies-charge-so-much-because-they-can/2015/09/25/967d3df4-6266-11e5-b38e-06883aacba64_story.html?utm_term=.ad1aa306b599 [Accessed: 21st February 2017]
According to Medical Daily “European public health experts estimate that pharmaceutical companies cashed-in over the last decade by pushing 'evergreen' medications on Swiss consumers. The researchers calculated that evergreening cost the healthcare system in Geneva an extra 30 million euros between 2000 and 2008.”
Drug patents last usually for 20 years, but much of this time is spent in the expensive research and development phase. It takes 12 years and $350 million on average to progress a new drug from the laboratory to a pharmacy shelf. The drug company will have 8 years left of patent time to sell the drug they have created
MEDICAL DAILY. (2013) Drugs
'Evergreen' Drugs Extend Pharma Patents, May Have Cost Swiss Consumers 30M Euros [Online] Available from:


  1. Very well researched and informative article - highlights the drivers that fuel the profit-only motives of the pharma business.

    Rahul Gupta

  2. Well done Aarna. I wonder whether there is a solution to the trap if the pharmaceutical companies. The both help us and hurt us all at the same time...

  3. Super write. I have a small question- in the absence of incentive of profits, why would organisations undertake research especially research in the field of medicine which is very long term?