Views & Reviews Review of the Week

When truth lies buried

BMJ 2010; 340 doi: (Published 03 February 2010) Cite this as: BMJ 2010;340:c604
  1. Ike Iheanacho, editor, Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin
  1. iiheanacho{at}

    AstraZeneca is in the dock for its lack of openness about one of its multibillion dollar drugs. A new documentary about the case impresses Ike Iheanacho

    A trillion here, a trillion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. The original version of this maxim (“A million here, a million there . . .”), usually cited as the words of the late US senator Everett Dirksen in the 1960s, remains a beautifully sarcastic condemnation of careless spending. But obviously it’s also out of date, partly owing to the ravages of inflation. Today even a billion of any currency barely has the power to shock or awe, albeit that (or perhaps because) these sums are way outside the experience or understanding of most people.

    So the received wisdom that it now takes more than a billion dollars to develop a new drug might provoke yawns not gasps, particularly in a macroeconomic climate where finance ministers …

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