Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pharmaceutical Industry – An Innovative Sector?

The prices of prescribed drugs have increased fourfold. The price hike, in fact, is way beyond the overall inflation charts of the economy. This has affected the entire society, especially when all are kind of addicted to the usage of prescribed drugs. It seems as if the only solution to any problem, related or unrelated to health can be solved only by taking a prescribed drug that is quite expensive. A section that has been most adversely affected is the elderly group, who is in true need of these regular medicine doses. The old section of society, who are living on a simple pension plan, cannot perhaps afford to spend a large chunk of money on the prescribed drugs.

The Counter Argument

When the concerned, the top rank of the pharmaceutical industry, is questioned regarding such allegations, they counter argue by mentioning that the life-saving drugs are quite expensive to manufacture. As per the industry, a major expense on the manufacturing side is in terms of the cost spent on continuous innovation plans. The pharmaceutical industry claims to come out with the most advanced of drugs required for faster and effective healing. The end result is an elevated innovation cost, of which a part is passed on to the consumers by way of increased prescribed drug prices.

The Flip Side To The Story

It sounds interesting; however, a close analysis is all that is required to ascertain the emptiness of the argument presented. In the past few years, unlike the mentioned, only a few new or innovative drugs have been introduced, in the market. Many others are more or less fabricated versions of the already available medications. These imitations do not call for the huge research cost as declared by the pharmaceutical industry leaders. Moreover, because the health experts have already tested the originals of these imitations, there is negligible risk involved.

Besides, the pharmaceutical industry is not basically a competitive economy. More or less, a condition similar to monopoly prevails, which allows the players to determine their own price tags, along with exclusive marketing rights. This, in fact, explains the true increases in price, rather than the reasoning supplemented by industry itself.

Far from innovative, the present pharmaceutical industry leaves no stone unturned to include all concerned sections like FDA, medical schools, health professionals or government administrative machinery, in its favorable group. The association thus created works towards unreasonable price increase, in the drug prices and, therefore, explains the sudden profits. The aim of the so-called innovative drugs is no longer to help heal faster, but it is to assist the pharmaceutical industry players, in their moneymaking endeavors.

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