A Challenge to Big Pharma
A recent article in the BMJ, by Lab Fellow Donald Light and Joel Lexchin, used FDA data to show that the pharmaceutical industry does not face the innovation crisis it has so widely publicized in order to make the public and legislators think that it needs more subsidies and government protection from free-market competition than it already has.
The article contends that major companies operate a "hidden business model" to exploit patents, as well as other market protections, and develop minor variations rather than clinically superior drugs for patients. Professor Light has published a separate study on the hidden business model on the Harvard Business Review's Blog Network.
The US and UK trade associations have responded to this article by claiming that companies devote considerably more resources to research than the FDA data indicate. In the newest Rapid Response, entitled "Two Tall Tales that Insult Researchers," author Donald Light challenges them to submit their data for review by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, or admit they are misleading Congress and Parliament.
Paul D. Thacker
Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics