Drug companies con the public with minimal advances in medicine

Drug companies have been accused of conning the public in a report that claimed more than four fifths of new medicines offer few benefits.

An estimated 85 per cent of drugs coming onto the market offer only slight advances on existing treatments while having the potential to cause serious harm due to toxicity or misuse, the study concluded…

”Sometimes drug companies hide or downplay information about serious side-effects of new drugs and overstate the drugs’ benefits,” said Prof Donald Light, a professor of comparative health policy at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in New Jersey.

”Then, they spend two to three times more on marketing than on research to persuade doctors to prescribe these new drugs. Doctors may get misleading information and then misinform patients about the risks of a new drug. It’s really a two-tier market for lemons.”

He alleged that the pharmaceutical industry owned companies in charge of drug testing and provided ”firewalls” of legal protection behind which information about dangers or lack of effectiveness could be be hidden.

Companies were assisted by the ”relatively low bar” for effectiveness that had to be crossed to get a new drug approved…

”A few basic changes could improve the quality of trials and evidence about the real risks and benefits of new drugs. We could also increase the percentage of new drugs that are really better for patients.”

In his paper, Prof Light concluded: “The evidence here indicates that the two-tier market for prescription drugs is the largest and most dangerous market for lemons in modern society. Neither wars nor used car injuries come close.

Nothing that a lot of us haven’t recognized for years; but, it’s always helpful to see legitimate studies provide some ammo against the greedy bastards running the pharmaceutical industry.

I’ve long felt the barrage of advertisements in the mass media for prescription drugs should be outlawed like cigarettes. If they’re beneficial, your physician will have learned about them. Otherwise, the pharma giants are just building artificial demand with their propaganda.

6 thoughts on “Drug companies con the public with minimal advances in medicine

  1. jonolan says:

    While I’m not in total disagreement with the underlying premise, I get a laugh out of calling it a “legitimate studies.” I sincerely doubt that you have any basis for declaring their legitimacy other than that they agree with- and support your own opinions.

    Of course one could flip the focus of those results too. 15% of the pharmaceutical developments brought to market are significant advances is medical treatment!

    You and several others here have made some claim towards being scientists or involved in the scientific research process; have you or anyone you know outside of the pharmaceutical industry ever managed anywhere near a consistent 15% “breakthrough” rate, much less one that predicated upon such advances having real world applications?

    • moss says:

      Can’t speak for anyone else here; but, I’m not really motivated to explaining scientific methods as the groundwork of legitimate studies vs. beancounters who only consider profits as essential.

      Especially those who quibble over studies they aren’t likely to read in the first place. There’s no shortage of science haters who have never turned a page.

      The point of the article – obvious to anyone who considers usefulness more important than greed – was the obvious collusion of government and medical practitioners with corporate hustlers.

      Not that the last couple of decades of klowns who have usurped traditional American conservativism ever disapproved of the process.

    • evinrude says:


      You all are debating with an ignoranus who thinks a corporate product success rate of 15% is some sort of achievement?

      Paddling around in some populist wading pool obviously never equipped him to swim in the world of equity investing. Companies with a mediocre level of success like that hardly get to be worth penny stocks.

      • jonolan says:

        No, waste-of-some-man’s-sperm, they’re debating with someone who questions the usefulness of 85% of the newer drugs but accepts that a 15% success rate in achieving a real advance that has applications and marketability is a rarity in any scientific endeavor.

        As for your laughably ignorant view of investing – I can’t even respond; you’re too stupid.

        • evinrude says:

          Sorry, junior. One of my areas of investing expertise is in Pharmacology and genetic science. Going back, let’s see – to about 1968. You probably weren’t even motile sperm at the time. We used the broader definition back then of molecular biology.

          Frankly, tech hardware and software is more fun – and a lot less controlled and dominated by corporate/government collusion.

          And as I peer at your whines, you have nothing to offer beyond opinion based on your fears.

          The article that caps this page, albeit keying in on the softer combination of social science and the dour science of economics, describes university research discussed in conference and available as a book, this autumn, from Columbia University Press.

          But, then, you already knew that from clicking the link, right?

          I’m not certain how long it will be till Marvel Comics and Gamestop will have a version suitable for you.

  2. god says:

    Just in the last week, the “new” FDA withdrew approval for ProAmetine, a hypertension drug that had been fast-tracked under Clinton because preliminary data showed promise.

    No follow-on studies were ever published by the manufacturer and the neocon brigadistas just left it in play.

    This was the first of what I hope will become a regular part of FDA processes. No more license for life.

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