Saturday, November 15, 2014

Drug Pushers

Imagine a capitalist concern that generates higher profit margins than any other and is no stranger to multi-billion dollar fines for malpractice. Throw in widespread accusations of collusion and over-charging, and banking no doubt springs to mind. In fact, it  is Pharmaceuticals. Last year, US giant Pfizer, the world's largest drug company by pharmaceutical revenue, made an eye-watering 42% profit margin. 'Last year, five pharmaceutical companies made a profit margin of 20% or more - Pfizer, Hoffmann-La Roche, AbbVie, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Eli Lilly. With some drugs costing upwards of $100,000 for a full course, and with the cost of manufacturing just a tiny fraction of this, it's not hard to see why. Last year, 100 leading oncologists from around the world wrote an open letter in the journal Blood calling for a reduction in the price of cancer drugs.' (BBC News, 7 November) Needless to say their call was ignored. RD

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