According to a recent report published in the British Medical Journal, “Big Pharma” appears to be spending more money selling you their wares than producing new ones. This may bring about a slew of questions by some people, including patients who are desperately seeking safer alternative medications to the ones they are already taking.
In the new report, the authors state that instead of developing new pharmaceuticals, drug companies are spending their money marketing the ones they already have or marketing drugs that are only slightly different variations of current drugs. The reason for this, says the report, is that it’s more profitable for them to simply to create a slightly changed variations of current drugs than to develop new ones.
“(P)harmaceutical research and development turns out mostly minor variations on existing drugs,” the authors write. “Sales from these drugs generate steady profits throughout the ups and downs of blockbusters coming off patents.”
The authors continue by saying that “for every dollar pharmaceutical companies spend on basic research, $19 goes toward promotion and marketing.”
For the most part, this strategy has worked for Big Pharma; however, it is not working for the patients who are seeking safer drugs for treatment of certain conditions. For example, patients suffering from depression are taking various antidepressant medications including Paxil and Effexor. Both of these medications have been proven dangerous for the patients and their offspring. Side effects linked to Paxil and Effexor include violent and suicidal thoughts and behavior and birth defects (PPHN, oral clefts, cleft palate, spina bifida and neural tube defects) in babies whose mother take Paxil or Effexor during pregnancy.
The BMJ study is just another way to explain why so many unsafe medications are still on the market. Rather than recalling these dangerous drugs, the FDA keeps them going because there might not be any alternatives to turn to with Big Pharma refusing to develop anything new.