On-line version ISSN 1851-8265
Print version ISSN 1669-2381
UGALDE, Antonio and HOMEDES, Núria. Pills for profits: the transformation of the pharmaceutical industry. Salud Colectiva [online]. 2009, vol.5, n.3, pp.305-322. ISSN 1851-8265. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1851-82652009000300002.
The article analyzes the case of Merck and shows that this firm, considered during many decades to be the most innovative, highly scientific and profitable, the bluest of the blue chips, has in the last years transformed itself into a commercial enterprise. Its main objective is to increase the sales of drugs regardless of their therapeutic value. The discovery of true innovative drugs that add new therapeutic value has decreased notably. In the second part, the authors present data indicating that Merck's case is not unique. The innovative pharmaceutical industry, known as "Big Pharma", has followed the same trend. In the process, fundamental ethical principles are routinely violated. The paper discusses the health consequences of the industry's transformation.
Keywords : Drug Industry (trends); Ethics; Pharmaceutical Trade.