Friday, February 2, 2007

Drug dealers

I count among my friends people who pay the mortgage courtesy of the pharmaceutical industry. That said, I still have to wonder where this world is headed.

Wired News offers a Requiem for the Silver Bullet, explaining that private pharmas won't make new antibiotics because there's no money in it, and this leads to thousands of needless deaths annually. Too bad people don't have to take antibiotics for the rest of their lives.

Consumer Reports suggests that you can save money with generic drugs (duh), even as pharmas push new medicines that do essentially the same thing as the older drugs. What would you do with $4 billion? They market directly to the patient. It's true that one medicine may work better than another of the same class based on a particular patient's quirks, but when I go to the doctor and tell him the generic drug works great and he offers me scrips for brand-name alternatives and lectures me on the benefits of brand-name drugs, I switch doctors. I want a doctor who puts my health above that of the drug companies.

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