The Beginning of the End for Big Drugmakers?

drug industry, financial dangerSome of the world’s biggest drug companies, including GlaxoSmithKline and AstraZeneca, are facing their worst crisis in decades. Shrinking drug pipelines, increased competition from generics and a slew of patent expirations are putting them in financial danger.

“For the first time in history, the industry will have negative growth in 2011,” says Alexis de Rosnay, global co-head of health care at Lehman Brothers.

Richard Girling, global co-head of health care at Merrill Lynch, says: “The problem is not so much the size of companies but the concentration and reliance on single products. This has been exacerbated by a lack of innovation over the years.”

In the United States alone, drugs worth more than $62 billion in 2006 sales are due to go off patent between 2008 and 2012, which means rival companies will be able to produce generic versions of the same drugs.

Drug companies have acknowledged that radical changes in research and development are needed in order for the industry to reinvent itself.
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
Folks, this is not just another case of Chicken Little warning that the sky is falling. The fact that the drug cartel is facing negative growth in 2011 for the first time in history is big news. And great news, at that.

According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Pharma 2020: The Vision, the leading pharmaceutical companies will lose between 14 percent and 41 percent of their existing revenues as a result of patent expirations between 2010 and 2012.

But don’t start rejoicing just yet.

In an attempt to save their falling dynasty, drugmakers are likely to:
  • Pursue aggressive ad campaigns to doctors and patients
  • Increase drug prices
  • Attempt to extend patents on existing medications
You can also expect more scrambling to develop new “blockbuster” (i.e. money-making) drugs. In 2007, for example, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies invested nearly $60 billion -- a record amount, up nearly $3 billion from 2006 -- to research and develop new drugs and vaccines.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) -- the U.S. drug industry’s Washington lobby group -- said this investment “reflects the continued commitment of America’s pharmaceutical research companies to lead the world in the pursuit of new, life-saving and life-enhancing medicines.”

But don’t let their altruism fool you.

The drug companies are ramping up spending on research and development (R&D) because they’re scared to death that once their patents expire, they’ll be out of “new-and-improved” drugs to peddle to unsuspecting patients.

And as for their development of “new and life-saving” drugs, well, most new drugs are "me-too" or copycat drugs that have little or no therapeutic gain over existing drugs. This certainly undercuts the industry's claim that R&D expenses are used to discover new treatments for serious and life-threatening illnesses.

I have a hard time believing anything that comes from PhRMA anyway, considering they’re the same lobby group that was implicated in a misleading campaign to scare policymakers and the public into accepting exorbitant drug profits. Here’s how they like to operate:

1. First they claim that they need huge profits to develop new drugs, even while drug companies get hefty taxpayer subsidies.

2. Second, the companies gouge taxpayers while spending millions from their profits to buy access to lawmakers and defeat pro-consumer prescription drug legislation.

The Drug Cartel is Slowly Beginning to Crumble

The drug industry is spending more than ever on R&D and sales and marketing, all while producing fewer drugs. Their financial performance is dwindling, and people around the world are growing tired of their underhanded reputation.

Make no mistake: the battle is just beginning. But I believe positive changes are inevitable. Even PricewaterhouseCoopers predicted that health care will shift in focus from treatment to prevention.

If you want to do your part in chipping away at the drug industry, I encourage you to reduce your reliance on prescription drugs. Start today -- do not wait until you’re sick.

The first thing you can do is regularly review this newsletter to keep you current on the latest deceptions and frauds the drug companies are trying to get away with. Then follow these 10 basic tenets of optimal health:

   1. Eat a healthy diet that’s right for your nutritional type (paying very careful attention to keeping your insulin levels down)
   2. Drink plenty of clean water
   3. Manage your stress
   4. Exercise
   5. Get plenty of appropriate sun exposure
   6. Limit toxin exposure
   7. Consume healthy fat
   8. Eat plenty of raw food
   9. Optimize insulin and leptin levels
  10. Get plenty of sleep 

If you want even further proof that the drug industry’s hold on health care is beginning to loosen, listen to this hilarious, yet so true, rant about pharmaceuticals from comedian Bill Maher.

As he says, "If you believe you need all the pills and drugs the pharmaceutical industry says you do -- then you're already on drugs."

+ Sources and References
  • May 7, 2008