I am a retired pharmacist who served the community for 40 years. In the wake of the current Covid-19 pandemic, I am making an appeal to PharMA members and the entire pharmaceutical industry.
Over my years of practice, the drug industry changed their investment in developing new products from research and development to niche marketing to the current standard where direct to consumer marketing takes up the majority of their marketing efforts.
This has all been aimed at finding that one billion dollar seller to support all the other drugs they put in the pipeline that never achieved the market traction they desired.
It reminds me of colleges where football and basketball revenues provide financial support for the lesser sports in their programs.
With exclusivity and patent rights that last between 17-20 years, whatever form the research investment takes, discovering that single ‘billion dollar gem’ secures billions of dollars of profits over the patent years.
Those profits have also generated much public outcry over prices, grumbling about the lack of social conscience of the industry and patients having to choose between paying for either meals or medications.
While sheltering in place, I noticed that drug ads have not diminished being sent over the airwaves.
Purchasing this advertising is not inexpensive. However, it is considered money well spent by industry because it continues to generate prescriptions and the majority of product research spending.
So here is the appeal……..
Pharmacies and their staffs remain open because they are essential businesses and frontline providers. They continue to provide critical medications to ensure the health of the public. At the same time, money from the prescriptions will fill industry coffers even though it may not be at the level they prefer.
Therefore, it seems to me public interest would be better served by stopping the ads, taking those marketing dollars and donating them to providing our frontline health workers the masks, PPE and other equipment necessary to keep safe while they care for those infected by the novel Coronavirus.