Pharmaceutical firms giving more importance to profits than new medical treatments
The multi-billion pound pharmaceutical industry is putting profit ahead of medical discoveries, and are spending vastly more on marketing than on new treatments, scientists have warned.
According to scientists, the industry has spent the last decade developing new drugs, which have produced little benefit and caused considerable harm.
The claim that there is an 'innovation crisis' in pharmaceuticals because of the difficulty and expense of discovering new drugs is a myth fostered by an industry whose chief focus is on marketing, the Independent reports.
"This is the real innovation crisis: pharmaceutical research and development turns out mostly minor variations on existing drugs and most new drugs are not superior on clinical measures," Professor Donald Light from the University of Medicine of New Jersey and Joel Lexchin from York University in Toronto said in the British Medical Journal.
"[They] have also produced an epidemic of serious adverse reactions that have added to national healthcare costs," they added.
According to the paper, they also pointed out that drug industry claims that the cost of bringing a new drug to market is one billion pounds and is unsustainable are exaggerated.
"Research and development costs did rise substantially between 1995 and 2010 by 34.2 billion pounds, but revenues increased six times faster - by 200.4 billion pounds," they concluded.
According to the paper, the authors called for licensing authorities around the world to stop approving new drugs of little therapeutic value.
They suggest large cash prizes should be awarded for genuinely new therapeutic agents in lieu of patent protection, the paper said.