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Encountering The Sustaining Myths of Pharmaceutical Patent The argument for a stronger patent regime for pharmaceutical companies

is often made on the basis of the heavy capital investment costs (for R & D) that goes into the creation of a new drug. It is however important to unpack some of these claims and really look into the claims that are being advanced b y the pharmaceutical ma!ors. They can be divided for instance into" a. b. c. a. b. c. #ctual R & D v. $arketing costs R & D that goes into creating non essential drugs like %iagra v. R & D that R & D that goes into creating new drugs v. R & D that goes into creating

goes into making essential drugs new uses& new dosages of old drugs

Marketing versus Research and Development: Its like a myth that the drug companies spend their ma'imum resources on research and development and the fact is that their considerable amount of money is spent on marketing and this is one of the reasons that they increase the drug prices. (ew statistics to !ust bring to light the problem faced. R&D for new products as reported on !S income ta" returns:

The e"penditure statistics

Marketing versus Research and Development

)ompany #nnual reports *++,-.//.

$ore than +/ /// drug reps 1/0 more 2detail men2 than there were 3 years ago now roam the halls of our hospitals providing the free lunch symposia samples and marketing pamphlets.

#nd this method of marketing is e'tremely e'pensive about 4*1/-4.// dollars per visit for a 3 minute visit (on average).

The top nine prescription drug companies spent a total of 431.3 billion on marketing advertising and administration and only 4*+.* billion on R & D last year. The highest paid drug company e'ecutive made almost 451 million while the top five e'ecutives received more than 4*67 million in compensation. These figures e'clude une'ercised stock options which in all cases totaled more than 431 million per )89.

This clearly shows how the pharmaceutical companies have kept the public in the myth of how they are spending their capital: basically it;s the public who are suffering because the money comes out of their pockets when they increase the price of the drugs to cover up their R n D costs. (ew reports to support this would be" 0 <efore its patent ran out for e'ample the price of =chering->lough?s topselling allergy pill )laritin was raised thirteen times over five years for a cumulative increase of more than 1/ percent@over four times the rate of general inflation. 0 0 In .//. the average price of the fifty drugs most used by senior citiAens was nearly 4* 1// for a year?s supply. <ig >harma tries to pro!ect the fact that it is its efforts alone that are key to drug development and this is why we should accept its monopoly pricing of drugs. <ig >harma says strict patent protection is necessary because it takes 41// million to bring a single drug to market. #s a prominent e'pert on the drug industry $errill BooAner points out this is a bogus figure for various reasonsnot least of which is the fact that most of the so-called new drugs are not innovations. Indeed in e'cess of 3/ per cent of the industry?s R&D is aimed at producing minor variations of e'isting drugs not at turning out new ones. 0 #lso much of the alleged cost of drug development is accounted for by

marketing e'penditures designed to convince people to buy different versions of the same drug. The fastest growing sector of <ig >harma is the marketing sector not R&D. There are now +/ /// sales people in the industry whose role is to pester doctors to recommend them to patients with >fiAer alone accounting for ** /// of these foot-soldiers. 4*. billion of corporate e'penditures according to the Toronto =tat now goes to maintaining and e'panding this non-essential layer in the form of wages and salaries.

#ew drugs versus the old ones: The ne't ma!or problem with the pharmaceutical industry is that instead of finding new uses of the old drugs they keep on investing and pumping money in new inventions without any impetus on finding or repositioning as we call it the old e'isting drugs. The process of finding new uses outside the scope of the original medical indication for e'isting drugs is known as drug repositioning. Repositioning e'isting drugs for new indications can offer a better risk-versus-reward trade-off as compared with other drug development strategies and can help to deliver the productivity increases the industry needs while shifting the locus of production to biotechnology companies. (ew statistics to support the fact are given below. 0 In *++3 researchers at )hildren;s Cospital in <oston discovered that thalidomide had anti-angiogenic properties that made it a candidate in oncology and also began to e'plain its dramatic effects in limb development in the human foetus. 0 )elgene acDuired the rights to )hildren;s Cospital;s thalidomide $9E patent in *++6. )elgene recorded .//. sales of E= 4**+ million for Thalomid +.0 of which came from off-label use of the drug in treating cancer primarily multiple myeloma. These reports proves that the repositioning of the old drugs are actually helping the pharmaceutical industry they can actually save a lot of money and invest more in research and development and the public can benefit from this because the multiple use of one drug can save a lot of the money for the public.

The amount of money that the industries pump in producing a new drug is humungous we can see from the statistics and reports below.

Essential versus the #on$essential drugs: The neglected part of the pharmaceutical industry is the essential drugs. The industry focuses more on the non-essential drugs because they need to make profits out of it. The common public what we mean from common public is the public who take medicines for headache to stomachache they forget that these generic drugs will help the society as a whole but if they devote their focus on the ma!or health problems faced disease like #ID= cancer T<-which is still a menace to the society. Today +/0 of the world;s disease receives */0 of the R&D money. The pharmaceutical industry fail to recogniAe the need of drugs for these society of course generic drugs should not be stopped completely that would be a foolish thing to do but their ma'imum should flow in for advance research for these diseases that;s one the reasons there should be repositioning of old drugs which would help the industry and the public as a whole as mentioned above. The statistics and reports below would highlight the neglected part of the pharmaceutical industry.

Fell this shows the nature of the pharmaceutical companies their private interest is way above their public interest. The statistics above show sorry state of affairs the third world countries are going through.