why pharma is sick

by Robert Kirby

The recent outbreak of “Swine Flu” in Mexico has focused the minds of governments worldwide on sourcing the drugs and vaccines that might be needed to combat a potential global pandemic. The UK government has already ordered nearly 15 million doses of antiviral drug Tamiflu from the pharmaceutical company Roche, and has touted diverting resources from the seasonal vaccines designed to protect the elderly from “ordinary” flu, to the search for a vaccine against the new strain (1). The question of who produces our drugs and how is once again climbing up the news agenda.

Some see the malignant hand of the “big pharma” lobby behind the panicky government and media responses to the epidemic; a perception which worries some of those involved in the industry (2). The belief that the pharmaceutical industry is uniquely powerful and evil is one that is widely shared amongst many radicals; their neglect of the third world comes under criticism from many NGOs and campaigners, their involvement in vaccine production scared many during the (entirely erroneous) MMR panic, and they and their scientists have come under political and sometimes physical attack from anti-vivisectionists (3). Continue reading “why pharma is sick”