Big Pharma Corruption: Drug Design and Designer Drugs

Over the past five years, debates about designer drugs have been growing. This new sector’s main focus is to genetically alter drugs so that they are custom for the individual patient. Although in theory this sounds like a health-improving technology, the failure of the multiple companies to agree on a destination and move forward is slowing the process, and as a result, is withholding treatment from patients that may save their lives. The rising issue of this new technology among the industry is the economic and marketing aspects of the drugs. The failure to unify and communicate among various sectors of this new field is harming the patients.

The business and marketing aspects are also in debate along with how the drugs should be designed. Hedgecoe and Martin, professors at Cardiff University, state that “the validity and clinical utility of the technology will have to be demonstrated, and commercially attractive products and services will need to be developed” (2013, p. 333). If a drug is safe and effective, it will sell itself. Drug companies spend 24.4% of their incoming money on promotions and only 13.4% on research (“Big Pharma Spends”, 2008). TV commercials and free samples do not get the consumer to obtain the drug. The doctor writes a prescription if the doctor feels it is necessary and appropriate for the patient to be taking the drug, he/she will prescribe it. The commercial has no purpose and the sample simply is given from the doctor to the patient so they can try the medication and see if they react to it. The marketing of drugs is a waste of time and money that could be put to use for researching and improving the health of patients.