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Pharma industry

October 2, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 40

I commend C&EN for the fine service it performed in publishing a full picture of the state of the pharmaceutical industry (C&EN, June 19, page 24). The reporting was probably not intended to paint this industry and its leaders as rogues, but what I saw was an industry that does the following: continues to raise its prices after recovering its sunk costs, something virtually unheard of elsewhere; buys off Congress to keep the government from bargaining on drug costs (Medicare Part D); introduces new, pricey drugs without any attempt to show advantage over medicines already on the market; fails to monitor new drugs for harmful side effects, as required by law; pays generic drugmakers to delay their entry; shows misleading advertising, such as the current strong sell of sleep medicines. Need I go on?

What a grim picture of corruption—from unfettered capitalism and doing anything not strictly illegal—to maximize profits. I missed any indication from the CEOs that they were going to do anything about these abuses.

Victor J. Reilly
Aiken, S.C.

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