Pharmaceutical research and development

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by matthewson, Sep 14, 2005.

  1. matthewson

    matthewson New Member

    R&D Investment By Pharmaceutical Companies Tops $38 Billion In 2004
    February 18, 2005

    Washington, D.C. —New statistics released today show that PhRMA’s biotechnology and pharmaceutical research member companies invested a record $38.8 billion in research and development on medicines in 2004 (up from $34.5 billion in 2003). This tops a steady increase in R&D over more than two decades, from an estimated investment of $2 billion in 1980.

    The growth in R&D continues to support important advances by research scientists and physicians that bring better medical treatments to patients, with a growing focus on biologics (treatments generated from living materials such as venom or bacteria). The biopharmaceutical industry is the most research-intensive major industry in the United States and the U.S. greatly exceeds Europe in biopharmaceutical R&D investment.

    The $38.8 billion invested in R&D represents a 12.6 percent increase over expenditures in 2003 and is more than four-and-a-half times the investment in 1990. Of this $38.8 billion, PhRMA member companies spent an estimated $30.6 billion in R&D within the United States, and an estimated $8.2 billion in R&D conducted abroad. PhRMA member companies spent an estimated 18.8 percent of domestic sales on R&D within the United States.

    “I am proud that the U.S. biopharmaceutical industry is America’s most research-intensive industry and is the world’s largest source of investment in discovering better treatments, exceeding the international pharmaceutical industry and the National Institutes of Health. The human and economic cost of disease is too high and new medicines are needed to reduce those costs,” said PhRMA president and CEO Billy Tauzin. “We’re working hard every day to create the new medications needed to save lives and improve the quality of life for millions of people. That’s our mission, and it’s a big reason why Americans today are living longer, healthier, more productive lives.”

    The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA members invested an estimated $38.8 billion in 2004 in discovering and developing new medicines. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures.

  2. elsa

    elsa New Member

    This isn't going to sit well with many, but I think it is important to point out.

    I'm not crazy with drug advertisments, but I understand marketing and advertising in a business industry. I don't like car commercials either. They both offend my intelligence .... especially when they start screaming.

    I do have the ability to think for myself and follow a critical path of thinking to make the best decision for myself.

    One area of advertising for fairly common drugs may not be considered by many. There has to be some way to produce revenue for the research and development of ORPHAN drugs.

    As I'm sure you know .... orphan drugs are medications developed for illnesses that are very rare, or don't garner much interest/knowledge in treating. They don't effect but a very small percent of the population. Their cost, once developed,is not going to put a dent in the price tag of years it took to develope it.

    By promoting the more "common" drugs that have a larger potential customer base, they are able to generate funds for these orphan drugs.

    This isn't going to impress or interest anyone except those having to deal with rare diseases or syndromes. I don't think I'm going to tell a mother of a sickle-cell anemia child or one who's dealing with Turret's Syndrome that BigPharma is the enemy and needs to go.

    It's business ....just paper and inc ... that happens to save lives or at least prolong them with (luck) a better quality of life.

    Drug salemen ... t.v. ads do not offend me. What might, is the suggestion that I cannot think for myself ...
    that my subconscious will be taken over somewhere during that 35 second ad and my ability to reason for myself will be lost. That would suggest I'm just another lemming jumping off that cliff with the rest of them.

    At the risk of raising other's anger, I have more respect for myself then to feel threatened by television ads. Chevrolet has had free run at me all of my life. I have never owned a chevrolet.

    If the ads generate more business for the more common medications and in turn more orphan drugs are created, then I say go for it.

    Take care,


    P.S. With my extensive use and appreciation of natural treatments, I'm not seeing how my arguements could be claimed as bias. I want both worlds. That gives me the absolute best chance of a healthy, productive and happy life.
    I will never see the benefit of all one way or all the other. This princess wants it all ... and pretty much intends to get it ... without causing pain to others. E.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/14/2005]
    [This Message was Edited on 09/14/2005]
    [This Message was Edited on 09/14/2005]
    [This Message was Edited on 09/14/2005]
  3. matthewson

    matthewson New Member

    Thanks for your response to my post. As usual you are the voice of reason on this site! I also take supplements and medications to combat this DD, so I can see both sides too. What I really hate to see on this site is the constant bashing of mainstream medicine and pharmaceuticals.

    If I see one more reply that mainstream medicine has killed x number of people each year I will scream! What about the xxxxxxxxx number of people that have been helped or cured by mainstream medicine! Only one side is shown in these types of posts.

    I have a feeling that there are quite a few people like you and me on this board, but for one reason or another, they do not want to get involved in these types of "discussions". It's too bad really, because I think we need different points of view on different subjects.

    I have thought about finding another board as I get myself all riled up with responding to some of these posts and yet the other boards I have visited don't have the vast amount of information that these boards do. I do know that I am not participating as much anymore as I did a while ago.

    Just the fact that I only got your response to this post tells me that no one besides you is interested in anything not involved in bashing the pharmaceutical companies. I don't know, I guess I should probably leave.

    I always try to look for your responses to postings and read them. I tend to agree with you in your responses.

    Anyway, I am rambling. Thanks for your response. I guess no one else is interested in my article. Oh, well.

    Take care, Sally

  4. elsa

    elsa New Member

    Nice to speak with you again. It would be a tremendous loss if you dropped your membership. You have valuable knowledge and you can help people. In return, you may keep discovering things that will give you a greater quality of life by staying.

    I have been thinking on this latest discussion. Am I an oddity in that research and critical thinking are a natural part of healthcare decisions? How did I get that way?

    Some answers are that I have always been that way. It has always been a way of life for my family to be educated on and to make our own choices when dealing with healthcare. The patient was never left ( And I mean never, including hospital stays) alone to make decisions and oversee their care on their own.

    To the best of my memory, I have never looked to healthcare professionals as the all knowing, let me do the worrying for you, don't question my treatment individuals. I think it is personal responsibility.

    Why me and not everyone? Who knows ... Maybe because my father was faced with raising a house full of girls. Both parents were determined that we girls would be able to think and rely upon ourselves ... the goal was to have a wonderful partner to share our lives with, yet be able to live well on our own if life decreed it.

    I also came up with this: Getting one's attention on a subject sometimes requires LOUD tactics. I have no problem with that. But once the attention is gained .. then what? To keep stiring the pot is not as effective as developing a plan to organise, educate, and advertise. How can people make choices if they are not aware of their options?

    Natural health programs are about the smartest, most effective way to maintain good quality of health that I have come across, yet I had to go hunting for it. I doubt I would have been so motivated had it not been for CFS & FM. The organizations that are "getting people's attention" loudly would be an excellent choice to promote the medical branch of natural health. What would one 30-40 sec well timed, well placed commercial cost the organization? ( Not talking Superbowl air time here.)

    They very well may be out there, but I haven't come across them. What I am saying ... and this applies to any group ... To effect change you first must grab the public's attention. ( That has been successful here, I feel.), but you must follow up with education, marketing, advertising, etc to complete it.

    Some other thoughts. Statistical numbers can be used to anyone's benefit. It is not about the numbers, but how you use them in an argument and can you sway the audience to your side with that data. The numbers in the BigPharma article are not presented evenly. Rx drug related deaths are going to be much higher if for no other reason then percentage of the population using rx'es is extremely high.
    Also, I don't recall in that article if distinctions were made in deaths attributed to drug interactions that have their basis in human error.

    So many things to think on. I would really like to hear more positive options for change versus hearing more pot stirring attention grabbing articles. They have had my attention for a while. I have been waiting for the authors to take me to the next level.

    I will never turn my back on the pharmaceutical companies. Because of them and brillant doctors, I am alive today ... I have wondered in the last day or so while thinking on this topic, how many of those so against the pharm. companies have faced the doctor across the desk and hear him spout % and what the outcome will be if this xyz rx doesn't work. I am sure they are there. I am also quite sure there are ones who have never faced such a situation.

    Is it the greatest branch of business in the world. Not by anyone's stretch of the imagination. Need to overhaul? Probably. The enemy in our mist? Not even remotely. It is about balance, which I'm sure people get sick of hearing from me.

    Am I angry at those who are speaking passionately against pharm. companies? No ... It's a wonderful thing to see people expressing their "choices". Do I get impatient waiting for the next step up...yeah , I do.

    Sally, I believe there are many who feel as we do. This is a very hot issue and when someone is trying to get through the day and come up with a working treatment plan to help them get through, they don't have the energy left over to jump in. I don't have much myself.

    I also believe that many of our members are staying away because the topic is quickly heading into a social commentary ... Some threads are a step away from social reform. That's too much for our health board ...too much for alot of individuals to weigh in on.

    I have so many thoughts on this area ... but I don't want to go the way of social reform either. I don't feel comfortable doing that here.

    I do hope you think on some of my ramblings. You are valuable here. I enjoy our conversations. Try to keep in mind the real goal of membership here is CFS/FM remission and support to one another on the road there.

    Both posts were thought provoking. Neither were enough to consider moving.

    Take care,


  5. abbylee

    abbylee New Member

    I thought it was an interesting article, but I didn't have any comments to make about it so I didn't respond.

    I used to work for a pharmaceutical research company and know that they have folks in the field who are searching for cures to diseases. One "discovery" was found in some soil in Africa.

    At the least, it's an interesting line of work for those who want to find cures for diseases.

    I've not been on the board as much lately as I used to be, and apparently I've read the wrong posts because I've not seen any pharmaceutical bashings!! Maybe I should read more!!

    [This Message was Edited on 09/15/2005]
  6. elsa

    elsa New Member

    Bump for Sally ......

  7. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Pharmaceuticals have to make a profit to cover them and have an incentive to do further R&D. Still, why are Americans expected to pay for more than their fair share of the costs of doing business? Why are the same drugs sold cheaper in other countries? In some cases, they are sold in the Middle East for far less than here to the same countries which are charging an arm and a leg for oil. There is definitely something wrong with this picture.

    Nothing is black and white. This is a complex issue with many shades of gray. The pharmaceutical companies aren't evil, but a lot of their behavior has been less than ethical.

    I am grateful for the medications which have helped me. I don't want to condemn the pharmaceuticals. I just wish they would clean up their act and stop gouging Americans for the drugs we must have. Unfortunately, they make huge contributions to both parties and politicians will not bite the hand that feeds them. It's an unhealthy relationship.

    Love, Mikie
  8. 121043

    121043 New Member

    I agree 100% with Mikie's post.
  9. summerskye

    summerskye New Member

    I agree with Micki and Loretta.

    Think about it... what was the last disease ever cured?... 50 years ago... It was Polio. It was only cured because one of the researcher's wife got sick with it. He worked for six months and found the cure. What happened to all of the 'industry' built up around treating the disease... medical, pharmaceutical, even companies that manufactured iron lungs... they were all out of business as soon as the cure was found.

    Think about all of the billions of dollars spent over the decades on any disease research. IF they were to actually cure it, they would be out of business.

    Some say there are natural cures for some of these 'incurable' diseases. I'm ready to walk that path.
  10. KerryK

    KerryK Member

    FYI: One disease more recently cured than polio is gastric ulcer by eradicating H. Pylori bacteria. My guess is that there are more out there that I am unaware of. That cure is the product of the conventional medical system, the pharmaceutical industry, and one brave doctor who fought conventional wisdom that tried to attribute the problem to stress and diet. It is a familiar pattern that unfortunately is similar to what we face with FM and Chronic Fatigue.

    I do not think natural remedies will be of much help to us. If they were, they would have revealed themselves by now against these terrible and quite old conditions. Judging by what I read here all the time, none provide any lasting relief and one is lead to conclude that any relief is either placebo or distraction, though it would be nice to believe otherwise. Maybe we will get lucky with one, but I doubt it. So, in the meantime, I hope big pharma sees the huge and so far underrecognized market in these conditions and seeks to make lots of money off of us by developing effective remedies. That is preferable to the natural products marketers who make lots of money off of us selling ineffective remedies.
  11. 123sandra

    123sandra New Member

    I wonder how many CURES the pharmy have got?

    Think about it.

    They may have a cure for some sorts of cancers, but they may have a huge STOCKPILE of drugs they need to get rid of first, so that they DON'T lose the money on them by destroying them!

    They could have cures for a lot of illnesses but until the mass produced drugs have gone, they can't use them!!

    Are they ever going to tell us? Not on your life. It would cost them billions.

    Like I said, just my thought!
    LOL Sandra
  12. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    The Guaifenesin reverses the symptoms of FMS for many. It is an OTC drug which is not expensive and is easily obtainable, right here at this website, in fact. Reversal of symptoms is the next best thing to a cure and yet, no one is beating a path to the door. I have never understood why. If a pharmaceutical company announced a new drug which reversed the symptoms of FMS, people would be demanding it from their docs.

    The Guai used to be by prescription only but there were no ads nor push for docs by the pharmaceutical company to prescribe it. That is because the patent had run out and there was no big money to be made with it. They eventually called it Mucinex and started selling it OTC at a hugely inflated price for respiratory congestion and cough. If isn't approved for FMS and to get it approved would cost too much in studies to make it worthwhile.

    The Guai treatment does require some changes to ones supplements and personal-care items and one must tweak the dose until it's just right. Still, the possibility to reverse the pain and fatigue of FMS would seem to incentive enough to try the treatment. Guai has almost no side effects so one has nothing to lose by trying it and reversal of FMS symptoms to gain. Once the symptoms are gone, one feels well.

    Perhaps it's because many are afraid of failure on the treatment. Perhaps it's because it doesn't work overnight. It takes time. Perhaps it's because one doesn't just pop a pill and have an instant panacea; it requires some reading and proactivity on the patient's part. Perhaps it's because there are no ads for it on TV and no promotional items in the docs' offices from pharmaceutical reps there to "educate" the docs on the wonders of the Guai.

    Guai isn't a "natural" cure; it is an OTC medication. There really is no such thing as "natural" versus what? An unnatural medication. There are prescription drugs versus OTC drugs. To say something is "natural" is to imply it is a safe normal thing to take. Medicine used to all be "natural." Then companies found they could take natural plant substances and put them in pill form. Later, they found they could synthesize these substances. OTC substances can have side effects too and interact with other substances. They can cuase bleeding if one needs surgery.

    I use a combination of Rx and OTC medications, probably like most of us here. I am grateful for the help I get from both of them. While people wait for the pharmaceutical companies to come up with a cure for FMS, some of us have been slowly and quietly reversing our FMS symptoms. As most of you know, I was bedridden most of the time and required Morphine for my FMS pain. My FMS symptoms are about 90 percent reversed in the four years I've been waiting for the pharmaceutical companies to come up with something better. They have come up with a lot of expensive drugs said to help with FMS but so far, they have come up with nothing which rivals the Gaui for safety, few side effects, cost, and efficacy.

    Like everything else, there are a few for whom the Guai does not work. For those of us with both FMS and CFIDS, the Guai does not make us well; we still have to contend with our CFIDS. Still, it's a heck of a lot easier to treat the CFIDS when one does not have to worry about the horrible pain of FMS. That said, I believe some of the pain relief is also coming from the Klonopin I take. The two work together in a synergystic manner.

    What's my point? We can find relief from different avenues. We needn't wait for a cure from the pharmaceuticals. My guess is that they aren't even looking for a cure. They keep coming up with new expensive meds to help treat the symptoms of FMS. A cure more likely will come from a research center at a university medical school. Of course, some of these research studies are funded by, you guessed it, pharmaceutical companies.

    No matter how expensive a cure would be, most of us would pony up the money in a NY minute. Until then, anyone with the money to buy the book and inexpensive fast acting Guai here and have the patience and commitment required, can try the Guai. A cure may never come along but one can be almost symptom free on the Guai unless one is in the minority of those for whom it does not work.

    Love, Mikie
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Outside conventional Western medicine which produce superior results, often without the dangerous side effects of Rx medication. I have my "Chicken Soup Test," which I've talked about here often. If I have nothing to lose but a bit of money, it might help, and it won't hurt, why not try it. Holistic and natural practitioners are seeing a surge in popularity, mainly because of the dangers of drugs and narrow attitude of many M.D.'s.

    Ralph is right; one should be careful about self prescribing, including supplements. Results can be dismal and in some cases, dangerous. That said, I am guilty of experimenting. If something passes the Chicken Soup Test, no problem. If there are risks, I talk to my doc and pharmacist.

    Ah, Ralph, if only we could all be your patients. Thanks for your input.

    Love, Mikie
  14. elsa

    elsa New Member

    I have been "cured". I was sick seven / eight years ago. I presented with a relatively rare viral like infection. I was treated with interferon which was experimental at the time for my illness.

    Interferon occurs naturally in the body. Dr. Thomas Merigan ( U of Cal, Berkely ... Harvard Medical services..
    Stanford) developed purified interferon and pharmaceutical companies developed recombinant DNA interferon for treatment of cancers and viral infections.

    I sat and watched my tough as nails, world re-known MD and husband conferencing our insurance company. They weren't going to cover the cost of treatment because it was "experimental" for my case.

    My doc. ( who certainly had the clout and waiting room full of patients behind him) could have said "oh well" and walked away. What I saw instead was a doctor with the meanest Brooklyn, N.Y. accent and attitude that ever walked, tell this insurance company that he was going to do this treatment ... if it didn't work and I died, he'd pay for it ... otherwise they better step up and do what they promised.

    Interferon is a protein produced by virus infected cells that inhibit the reproduction of the virus. Dr. Merigan learned through his research that it also happened to shrink tumors , occular tumors being one example.

    So far I have related a natural occurring biomolecular substance that was developed, purified and put to use to effect cures. I have also related a doctor who could really care less about his money .. but was truly interested in saving my life. I saw it with my own eyes.

    It took about a year to recover from the illness. My world famous MD treated my follow up care with nothing more then vitamins, supplements and nutrition. Not one rx in the mix. The only "evil drug" was recombinant interferon during my hospital stay. There is not one trace of that illness within me now ... 8 years later.

    Where the sake of arguement stands, with my own life experience, I have refuted blanket statements that BigPharma is only out for themselves. That they could care less about "curing" anyone. That if a cure must occur then they will gouge the patient with as many meds as possible in order to drain as much capital as they can before I walk away as a client.

    I have also refuted that MD's are gross and incompetent, only interested in the bottom line. I have shown were the best route to cure was taken ... it didn't matter if that route contained an cache of rx meds. or vitamin C.

    I am anticipating a couple of arguments here. The first being that interferon is toxic and is worse then the illness. I would like to take the opportunity to remind readers that we see everyday here people going through a herx reaction as a result of transfer factors. For a time, it feels toxic and worse then the illness.

    Second arguement is "well, that's you ... you are in the minority". I don't know about that. I may be at the moment the only one who has constructed a timeline of events that's hard to ignore.

    Words such as "always", "never", "only", etc. are not good things to put in any arguement. They are very strong words and difficult to back up.

    I am distressed that we may have lost a very valuable member here. Sally, as a medical technologist (lab) was in a position to help many of us read and interpret results that appeared as a foreign language to most of us.

    The blanket words, the no room for consideration, the side "A" is right and side "B" is wrong presentation of some arguements have gone too far. Often there was little room given for the other side of the coin.

    Her profession was maligned as well, being that she works in the heart of healthcare ... the hospitals. I'd like to add that it was a very intelligent, on the ball lab tech. and pathologist who came up with what was killing me. That lab did not charge us for the extra effort and expense they went to on my behalf.

    Perhaps anger and frustration are fueling many of the heated comments on this subject. I can certainly understand that. I would suggest that it would take all of us with our vast and different experiences to come up with the best route to navigate the tricky healthcare environment.

    We're not here to revolutionize industry giants. We're here to support and share that knowledge in hopes of regaining our quality of life.

    I am disappointed that we lost sight of that with our inflexible stance on this issue.

    Exchange of theories and passionate discourse is a good and healthy thing. Exacting reform and motivating activism is one of the most wonderful freedoms we have in this country.

    If it cost us "one of our own" and a very valuable contributor in our fight against Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia then it was not a "good and healthy" thing. It certainly was not terribly supportive of us.

    Thanks for listening,


    [This Message was Edited on 09/16/2005]
  15. elsa

    elsa New Member

    I agree. I am a living breathing example of middle ground. I should have mentioned that again in my last post. After as much touting as I have done on my treatment plan, I incorrectly assumed members knew where I stood.

    My post was in direct response to "no cures" or, if cures occur it is after taking the patient to the cleaners. I also addressed that not all MD's are owned by big business,ie pharm. companies or insurance industries. That not all MD's are ignorant of the value of nutrition, vitamins and supplements to bring about homeostatis.

    My post was also a commentary on how wonderful it is to have the freedoms to exact change, but is it appropriate in all forums? Inflexibilty, on more then one occasion has cost us a member ... (maybe not I hope.)

    I've tried to bring balance to the arguement, but I too am running out of steam. Without bringing too much "hoodoo" to the picture, I'm a pisces that needs breaks from time to time from strong individuals with strong stances.

    Idealistically I am wishing for advice and support, not activism on healthcare reform. I'm I saying no one is allowed such comments? No, not my place. I'm saying that I'm sick and have xyz energy for the day and am saddened at the costs.

    I understand the "if you don't like it, don't read" response. This is one area I wish I didn't have to think of that stance.


  16. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Like I have said before, this isn't a clear black and white issue. If it were not for medications, many would likely be dead or serverely sick. Pharmaceuticals perform a life-saving service in society. That doesn't mean they have always performed in an ethical manner. Because one draws attention to either the good or bad qualities of these entities does not mean that one has taken an extreme stance. The ability to see both sides of any issue is to avoid knee-jerk reactions and to remain open and not rigid.

    There is a lot to be said for drugs and a lot to be said for alternative treatments. Both have worked well for some of our members. Most of us probably benefit from both. I am thankful we have more choices available to us.

    We can discuss these issues without having to take sides and defend our points of view as the only viable alternatives. Pharmaceuticals are not the enemy but there is certainly room for improvement in how they perform ethically.

    Love, Mikie

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