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SOSA 2503 (28)
Lecture 8

Lecture 8 - Pharmaceutical Industry

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Soc & Social Anthropology
SOSA 2503
Emma Whelan

THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY – October 17, 2013 Pharmaceutical Industry - History and Profits  Began mass production in 1935  Relatively new, high profit margins  2002 Fortune 500: 10 drug companies made more profits than all other 490 companies combined  Still one of world‟s most profitable industries - Most drugs are not essential to health (WHO) - WHO, 340 drugs considered essential to health - 100,000 drugs on the market worldwide - 294x the # of drugs as WHO says is essential - Canada has 12,000 drugs on the market - Impact on health care costs - Since 1997 more money is spend on drugs than on doctors - Only spend more on hospitals than drugs - 16.2% of health care $ spent on drugs Total Health Expenditure, Selected Use of Funds, Canada, 1975 to 2011 Source: National Health Expenditure Database, Canadian Institute for Health Information. Total Health Expenditure by Use of Funds, Canada, 2009 (Billions of Dollars and Percentage Share) Source: National Health Expenditure Database, Canadian Institute for Health Information. New Drug Development – who benefits?  Lots of new drugs  Little/no therapeutic advantage o „Me too‟ drugs or new dose levels (aren‟t improving health) o Only small percentage provide improvement over existing drugs  Risk of new drugs are not well known o New drugs often no more effective  Costs are higher – patent protection (monopoly) o 80% increased drug spending o Patents inflate costs  Intervention/quick fix vs. prevention o Eg. Lipitor (for high cholesterol) o Cholesterol can often be managed through diet, Lipitor also used as preventative measure, but not efficacy tested o If drug approved for one thing it can be prescribed for anything Power of the Pharmaceutical Industry Canada‟s Research-based Pharmaceutical Companies (“Rx&D”)  Represents 50 brand-name drug companies in Canada = over 90% of drugs in canada  Misleading, less than 10% on Research and development  2x that spent on promotions and ads  Formerly known as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of Canada  Patent protection in Canada now 20 years, increased with NAFTA to match the US regulations How does the industry control information about drugs? 1. Funding medical research: Majority funded by pharmaceutical industry - Ghostwriting: in 2010 up to 10% of major journal articles were written by ghostwriters - Bias toward positive results - Industry ties to major medical and research organizations - Proportion of industry funded research is growing - Research into drug therapies likely to be funded - Research shaped by profit motive, capture large market share o Ie. Anti-inflammatories - Shape development of drugs and research - CIHR Board of Directors member from pharmaceutical industry - Less access to public research grants, have to go to pharmaceutical industry, little public funding, isn‟t
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