Sunday, June 29, 2008

We hate Big Pharma--but we sure love drugs By Geoffrey Colvin

Image via MorgueFile

Here is a great read published in Fortune Magazine (December 27, 2004). The article is written by Geoffrey Colvin who explores our "schizophrenic: position on Big Pharma. Read it here.

Here are a few quotes:

• The drug culture in sports came further into the open as Jason Giambi of the Yankees admitted taking steroids, as steroid supplier Victor Conte called Major League Baseball's drug-testing program a "joke," and as San Francisco Giant Barry Bonds's denials became harder to believe. There's no disputing that we Americans seem perfectly okay with sports being rife with drugs at every level of competition. After all, the evidence is in plain sight. When a player gains 50 pounds of muscle in the off-season or suddenly becomes significantly, inexplicably better, do we have any doubt what happened? When we find, without looking very hard, that college and even high school athletes are using performance-enhancing drugs, why don't we crack down? Baseball may finally get serious about drugs, but for fans to profess shock at the revelations is just hypocritical.

• Procter & Gamble sought (and didn't get) an advisory panel recommendation for Intrinsa, a new drug to increase the sex drive of women. Tests showed it increased the number of "satisfying sexual experiences" per month by only one more than a placebo. Panel members worried that the drug's long-term effects were unknown, but they believed millions of women would take it if approved, despite its extremely modest effectiveness.

• Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline hired a new ad agency for Levitra; Pfizer made a similar move with Viagra in June. If anyone had told you ten years ago that one day soon we'd happily watch prime-time TV commercials for these drugs ("Grandma, what's erectile dysfunction?"), would you have believed him? More important, Viagra, Levitra, and Cialis have created a new class of prescription party medications, a factor in the growth of this $2-billion-a-year market.

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