Ask an expert

14 Jul 2005

Pharmaceutical industries
Dear doc

I want to know what your opinion in about the pharm industry in general. I have a few friends who work for them and the whole lot seems to be corrupt. I mean, paying doctors thousands of rands to put patients on trial and recently I read that many companies gave false info to the FDA.

Besided this, what about drugs like Cipramil evolving into Lexapro? Do you find that Lexapro is more effective? I've heard that this was just a way for the pharm company to extend its patent rights? I know we have to keep track with science, but sometimes I really wonder is these drug comapanies really have the patients interests at hand....

Just my 2 cents.....
Answer 332 views

01 Jan 0001

Hmm, I'm surprised nobody else has had a go at this interesting question. Over the years I have become increasingly bothered about the manner in which the pharmaceutical industry operates in this country in a number of instances. I have seen dreadful doctors givien consistently, year after year, large amounts of cash as "donations" for nonexistent research, and free luxury trips to overseas conferences to which sometimes more than one company paid for the trip. And when it was pointed out to these companies that they or at least some of their employees, were behaving improperly, they continued to do so, but stopped een speaking to those who complained or reported such irregularities. I have seen frankly bogus "research" funded with generous cash for the doctors taking part, and useless results.
If you watch the industry, you will note recurring patterns. As a company's exclusive patent to market a drug they were pushing us to use as the best product for X disorder. starts to run out, they often produce a slight chemical variant on the original, now insisting that THIS is the best thing since sliced bread, and the old product is of little use any more ( now that cheaper versions of it are available). Or they market a new disorder, like Bipolar 15c, which they try to persuade naive doctors is now epidemic, and needs their drug rather than any other.
And some of the pricing patterns are dreadful --- for instance ( and I'm surprised our odd Health Minister, if she can drag her atention away from ginger and garlic for a few minutes) isnt bothered by it with her views on the great value of vitamins --- vitamins are luducrously expensive, for such simple and cheap to produce chemicals.
Science is vitaslly important, but too much of what some companies puff, at times, is pseudo-science. The drug companies aren't actually bound to have the patient's interests at heart, or at least not as their no. 1 priority --- they're not charities. They are there to make profit for their shareholders ( and, too often, for their executives, first and foremost ). If their products do benefit patients, that ought to be good for their profitability overall, but it's not their first priority, any more than anu airline exists purely to provuide cheap and comfortable travel for us !
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
33% - 9364 votes
67% - 19337 votes