Big Pharma: How the World's Biggest Drug Companies Control IllnessBMJ 2006; 332 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.332.7542.672 (Published 16 March 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:672
- Ike Iheanacho, editor (Ike.Iheanacho@which.co.uk)
- Drug and Therapeutics Bulletin
The pharmaceutical industry is a business. This banal and obvious fact needs emphasising because it is often forgotten or overlooked by both supporters and critics of the industry's ethos and activities. And the industry itself is happy to downplay its true motivations where this suits the circumstances. It can, for example, pose instead as educator, charity supporter, health service provider, and even patient advocate.
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While such roles hardly mask the underlying commercial imperative, observers may be reluctant to consider them primarily in business terms. This would be a mistake, not least because, when viewed in this way, there is much to admire about the pharmaceutical industry. Other industries could perhaps learn from its energy, professionalism, flexibility, and ability to ensure that its interests are well represented wherever key healthcare decisions are taken. What is more, a focus on the pharmaceutical industry as a business need not deny the great advances the industry has provided and continues to offer, or the good intentions of many who work in it.
Indeed, the …