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Do Drug Companies Make Drugs Or Money?



7/30/2014 6:38:34 AM

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So began an article by Andrew Ross Sorkin in the New York Times. Actually, Sorkin’s title was taken from Harvard professor, Bill George, who asked: “Is the role of leading large pharmaceutical companies to discover lifesaving drugs or to make money for shareholders through financial engineering?” Professor George’s question was prompted by the spate of companies seeking to merge with foreign companies (in this case, Pfizer trying to acquire AstraZeneca ) with the ultimate intent of lowering their corporate tax rates. However, these comments play on the public’s concern that the pharmaceutical industry is primarily focused on making money – not drugs. This reinforces the notion that companies focus only on profits, and preferentially work on life-style enhancing drugs, or drugs that offer minimum improvements over existing therapies but for which companies charge exorbitant prices.

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