Pharma CEO: We're in the Business of Shareholder Profit, Not Helping the Sick
So, there you have it - straight from the horse's mouth.
The line "We can do anything we want to do." Says it all really.
Sadly, it does.
The CEO may say that he is increasing prices for the benefit of shareholders, but he does not mention his salary, bonuses, stock options etc which are all to his benefit!
Oh, absolutely! That wasn't lost on me. lol
Hi Greygoose, as you know husband is a retired pharmacist and he has frequently said that this has always been the case.
I don't doubt it.
Greed always wins.. sickening.
I've posted similar stuff myself and assumed this was common knowledge? But when informing others of this fact, I'm accused of being a "conspiracy theorist" by people who have a fantasy-land idea of Big Pharma being a noble industry, full of honourable noble-intentioned people.
I'd like to know what the "conspiracy theorist" accusers are smoking'? 😳
I don't think anyone here would accuse BP of any nobility of motive or purpose.
Well, I don't think I've ever accused you of that - or anything at all, come to that. I just happened to read this article this afternoon and thought I'd share it. But, it doesn't come as any surprise, I think most of us have known this for a long time. It's pretty obvious.
It’s a disgrace that health and medicine should be in any way related to profit. In a bygone era, scientists donated their discoveries to the people, they worked for the Govt and the country - not so now I’m afraid. Profit is king and who cares if a few people suffer or die along the way? It’s not the kind of world I want to live in I’m afraid. Depressingly selfish. 🤸🏿♀️🥛
I don't think they did, except in fantasy novels. No one worked for "the state" as there was no concept of the state until modern times and, if you worked for the king or "the government" (which again is a modern concept), it was for money or status and had nothing to do with the plebs. Think, graverobbers, experimenting on convicts and the poor and so on
I agree. I can't remember the details, but was listening to a podcast one day, a historian came on and said "Of course doctoring has always been about gold". It was a bit of a wake up call for me, to realise it's been for profit right from the start, and lose that fantasy things used to be much better.
Even wise women had to live, so needed to be paid in cash or goods. Nuns and monks provided the most free health care as they believed that a) a sick person might be god in disguise b) the bible said that they ought to. Even they were funded by rents from farms/land/housing and charitable donations from the rich (if religious foundations hadn't been stinking rich, Henry VIII wouldn't have bothered getting rid of them).
Pierre and Marie Curie openly gave away the discovery of radium despite being poor - they refused to patent it. They also damaged their own health to whilst working on the extraction process. There’s a reason she’s buried in a lead lined coffin. Fleming made little to nothing from his discovery of penicillium whilst working on research at St Mary’s hospital. The mass production of penicillin - to be used on the battle front in WW2 drove the price down to next to nothing.
Neo-liberalism has changed attitudes in all walks of life to an innately selfish pursuit of wealth at all costs. unfortunately. 🤸🏿♀️🥛
Cambridge University took Alexander Fleming's discovery and developed a method to mass produce penicillin but though that it would be immoral to patent it. An Americans drug company however had no qualms about patenting their work!
The Curies got paid for their research and teaching - and I don't think the holder of a Chair in Physics at a major university can be considered poor. Also Nobel prizes conferred status. If they had tried to patent it, these days the Sorbonne would have probably said the research belonged to them as the employer, back then I don't know. Might have been better for a lot of really poor people if they'd realized how dangerous it was - all those poor women painting radioactive numbers on watch faces ...
Says it all. No wonder we find it so difficult to get the drugs we need.
Plenty more examples of doctors and scientists of this type. 👀
Sadly the posting been removed
The link to what the CEO said no longer works
Works for me.
Yes it works I have just read it. Sorry to say it's all too true.
It gives a re-direct and some browsers don't allow that, mine does.
It's HU that gives the re-direct. It does it now for all links. And, it's damned annoying!
Oh, I didn't know that. I wonder why. My mac software is very fussy about redirects and usually it does not allow them - but apparently that wasn't one of them.
I cannot imagine why. But, then, I can't imagine why a lot of things HU does. They are weird.
I’ve just read the link, what greed it’s shameful - it seems the public backlash in the USA is starting to bite with share prices dropping 27% - money it seems is the only language that has any impact on these greedy people - let’s hope the spot light on these practices continues and changes are made.
Amen to that.
Just confirms what we always suspected doesn’t it. I can see pharmaceutical companies need a return for the money they have invested in finding ‘cures’ but pricing sick people to death isn’t exactly ethical.
There is no incentive to find cures. Profit comes from keeping people sick and needing to be medicated for the rest of their lives.
As they say, Big Pharma doesn't produce cures, it produces customers.
Well, that's company law. Companies have to act in the best interests of their shareholders (or the directors can be prosecuted). So, the real questions is: should important things like medicine be in the hands of private companies?
You're absolutely right. And I would say they shouldn't. But, in whose hands should they be?
I wouldn't trust the government (any government) either , so there's no answer to that.
Well of course they are, why does anyone expect that a commercial manufacturer of anything should be doing it for altruistic rather commercial reasons. Or to put it yet another way, how many people criticising the commercial driver which is to stay in business by making a profit, have consistently sought employment for no salary, or have suggested to their employer that their salary ie their profit from being employed, should be reduced for altruistic purposes? I don't understand why it is expected that because the product is drugs rather than houses or cars or knickers, that the manufacturers should be somehow more concerned and caring about the consumers of those drugs. All a consumer can ask of any manufacturer is that their product is of good quality, fit for purpose, as safe to use as is commensurate with the product, and conforms to legal and regulatory standards. Likewise, regarding their business operating, it can only be expected that they comply with the general laws of the land and with any specific statutory obligations pertaining to their profession. I find it bizarre and naive that there is an expectation that a commercial entity shouldn't be run for profit, or that scientific endeavour must perforce be only for humanitarian reasons.
But, there are profits and profits. And, I suppose that one imagines that if you go into that sort of business, it's because you want to do some good in the world. Naive, perhaps, but one has to believe there's some good in this awful world.
Yes but there is profit and there is extortion. Both of my parents rang a successful business as did I , supplying a good product and at a reasonable price we all made money.
The difference is that these customers are not happy, but sick and in need of help.
This is often not at a reasonable price but legal extortion. Pure greed is the only answer.
Perhaps if the NHS and insurance companies just refused to pay, the prices would have to drop - but, of course there'd be an outcry "just think of the children/elderly/etc who can't get their meds". I'm surprised that hasn't happened to Concordia or whoever they are now - is there any point making T3 if you can't sell it?
That's what I've been wondering. Surely they must now be losing money on T3, not making extra.
Perhaps they are buying it in from Europe in just the quantities they have orders for and making a huge profit that way.
I hadn't thought of that! No wonder we find it harder to obtain these days!
Surly we can expect fairness in prices applied to any product that we buy.
Sadly very little competition in the big pharmaceuticals is the problem.
Also, don’t we all shop around to buy what we , as individuals ,can afford! There is no choice when it comes to drugs/ treatment in health care.
Don’t let’s forget that thousands of pounds are raised and donated ( week on week) towards research by the generous public .
Yes, all your points are valide. Especially the one about the public being conned into donating to things like cancer research! Which is a scandal in itself.
But surely drugs are very different to cars and knickers! That is why such comments as the CEO’s are unethical and morally bankrupt in my opinion and why my opinion is that such work should not be in private hands.
I can choose my car and my knickers and change them if I want to do so - or even do without. I may have no choice but to take a drug for survival. So with drugs there has to be more responsibility, they can literally be a matter of life or death - and all too often these companies shirk these responsibilities, despite obese profits. It is this attitude about profits that leads to the covering up of research findings on side-effects etc and the promoting of treatments that do far more harm than good.
Not all businesses are the same in terms of power, influence and effect.
And yes, there are businesses that take a more humanitarian approach and yes there are many examples (including in my own job) where people have had their salary reduced for altruistic purposes - such as saving the jobs of others. Not everyone puts the filthy lucre first and there are many scientists who haven’t, such as Marie Curie.
I agree with you in that I too am not surprised by this CEO’s neo-liberal stance. I am deeply saddened by it though. 🤸🏿♀️🥛
Do you think that it is perfectly acceptable for BP to raise the cost of T3 as detailed in this Lancet article?
After all it is T3 that primarily concerns us here.
Clearly a business must make a profit, everyone understands that....but there is profit and there is greed. To suggest that a wish for both transparency and integrity in a drug company is naive strikes me as missing the point.
Humanitarian reasons may not be their focus but is it naive to expect they offer a fair deal? Drugs are not luxury goods!
With reference to T3....BP appears to be playing fast and loose with the lives of patients many of whom are left ill - or dying - and without appropriate treatment as a result of an obscene price hike and the resultant knock-on effect.
Not all patients are in a position to carry out personal research or to buy the tests, nutrients and T3 they require.
Call my expectation bizarre and naive if you wish....but I doubt you will find many who will condone the inflated cost of T3.....or this CEO' s admission that, "We're in the Business of Shareholder Profit, Not Helping the Sick"
Ah well....I thought the aim of a drug company was primarily to help the sick but it looks as if they/we are seen as little more than "cash cows".
What a depressing thought!
Cash Cows is exactly what we are. Which is why doctors know so little about thyroid. If they actually made us well, Big Pharma would lose several small fortunes.
I haven't made any value judgments about anything in the article being acceptable or otherwise; I wrote from a purely objective position about the commercial facts of the matter. But if you follow through your argument that if people have a need for something, in this case drugs, that the manufacturers must therefore have a higher level of commercial/financial control imposed on them, surely the same should apply to food manufacturers, housing developers, manufacturers of ambulances and fire tenders, etc etc, the list is endless - in which case how many businesses will leave the market place or take their manufacturing operations abroad, and at what cost? I can't comment on the link you have provided as it returns an error message, but I am more than aware of the aspects of the T3/Concordia situation and as someone who had their own NHS T3 of 10 years standing, summarily taken off me, was directly affected by it, and indeed had my experience reported as one of the patient stories presented in the dossier to the then Housing Minister at the end of last year. However, irrespective of Concordia's actions, there was absolutely no need for the NHS to have responded in the way that it has. It has always been perfectly free to take any other action it wished, as a counter to the massive price increases, but it has chosen not to. When Concordia first reported manufacturing difficulties 3 or more years ago, a blanket authority was given during the interregnum, to GPs to prescribe, and pharmacies to source, unlicensed French T3. That worked perfectly well and provided a breathing space for the NHS to read the writing on the wall and take preemptive action - it chose not to. Subsequently, Concordia reported that it needed to build a new manufacturing facility and therefore had to increase the price of T3 to meet its development costs, and unbelievably, instead of being told to take a hike, this was acceded to by the MHRA. The saga has continued on, with the ongoing too little too late investigation into Concordia seemingly dragging on ad nauseum. At any point after the first price increase, the agencies concerned could have told Concordia to go whistle, and taken steps to facilitate UK licensing of other brands and bring them into the market place, and/or extend the blanket permission to prioritise prescribing of UK-unlicensed brands ad infinitum. There has never been a moment whereby this country had to take whatever Concordia did in terms of T3 pricing, it has never been held over a barrel with no options, and yet the agencies concerned have chosen to behave as if that were the case. To my mind, it is to those agencies to whom anger and frustration should be directed.
I actually think the anger and frustration should be directed at both since one action caused the other.
‘I wrote from a purely objective position about the commercial facts of the matter’ - but it is also an objective factual view that companies can still make a good profit without driving prices so high isn’t it? The important view is which you think is okay in terms of your personal opinion. Neo-liberals pursue massive wealth at all costs. There are other philosophies under which businesses run that are not as extreme.
When you use a terms like "good profit" that is not being objective/factual, but is an imposition of your opinion about what is a "good profit". If a CEO is charged say, with ensuring an annual return of X % on shares held by a company's shareholders, that is an objective performance standard. An onlooker outside a company, with an expectation that the company's annual profits should be capped at whatever that outsider considers to be "good", is expressing a subjective opinion that is a reflection of their own belief system. You reinforce that to be so, when you say that "the important view is is which you think is okay in terms of your personal opinion".
Neo-liberals don't have a monopoly on profit, and people wanting to have much, or more of anything, is as old as mankind itself. Like everything, what way(s) of thinking has/have the ascendency changes through time, and is probably cyclical. My first profession was social housing, which largely grew out of the actions of the "4% philanthropists" of the day, such as Octavia Hill of National Trust fame, seeking to invest in a way that gave them a return of 4% and facilitate the improvement of living conditions for the poor. Consequently, the housing associations that developed from that, were deemed not-for-profit for a while (which conceit worked ONLY because of the grant funding they received) and which pretty soon became non-profit-distributing instead, a whole different ballgame. When I first started working in the movement in the mid-70's, around the time of the Cathy Come Home movie, it was largely expected that job satisfaction was more important than salary, but nowadays you wouldn't find a single poorly paid CEO, Director or senior staff in any of the established associations. Yet presumably like me, they went into the profession because they cared about people having good housing - but understandably not at any cost to their bank accounts. Labelling commercial behaviour and the desire to be successful as always being the result of a single particular philosophy is unhelpful and inaccurate, there are many facets to what makes a person do what they do and how they do it, which are not mutually exclusive, and may even be contradictory, and this is as true when they are collectivised in a single commercial entity.
In view of your comments you might care to access the links below and then try to convince us that the obscene profit BP makes from T3 is reasonable, fair,ethical and so on. It may be legal.... but even that is in question.
I quote from the first link to support that comment,
"On 30 January 2019, the CMA issued a supplementary statement of objections revising certain aspects of its provisional findings in the statement of objections.
Through this supplementary update, the CMA has slightly altered its investigation period, provisionally finding that Advanz Pharma (formerly Concordia) breached UK and EU competition law from at least 1 January 2009 to at least 31 July 2017 by charging excessive and unfair prices for Liothyronine tablets in the UK.
Between January 2009 and July 2017, the price paid by the NHS for liothyronine tablets rose from £15.15 to £258.19, a rise of 1,605%, while production costs remained broadly stable. During that period, Advanz was the only supplier of liothyronine ns revising certain aspects of its provisional findings in the statement of objections.
Between January 2009 and July 2017, the price paid by the NHS for liothyronine tablets rose from £15.15 to £258.19, a rise of 1,605%, while production costs remained broadly stable. During that period, Advanz was the only supplier of liothyronine tablets in the UK."
The following article in the Lancet offers this,
"Our findings support the need for urgent measures to reduce the cost of liothyronine to the NHS.'
Company law may state that companies must work in the best interests of their shareholders but does that give them the right to ride rough shod over their consumers.
Is there no place for ethical behaviour and corporate social responsibility in business, because without that we will all continue to struggle.
Ha ha - okay then - they can still make a profit rather than a good one! I wish I was powerful enough to impose my opinion, but I’m afraid all I do here, like you, is express it!
And yes - I am saying exactly that - you should have a view about the profits of drugs companies - and the X% decided would also be someone’s subjective opinion of what the profit should be. And no neo-liberals don’t have the monopoly on profit (in both your and my opinion) but that is the current dominant philosophy/view in economics in the relevant political system and has been for some time. I never said it was always the result of a particular philosophy. But sorry you find identifying dominant political thinking ‘unhelpful’.
Whatever you post on here - it is expressing your opinion - you are expressing the opinion that the other poster is incorrect as drugs are like houses or knickers - in your opinion. And I enjoy reading your opinions along with everyone else’s even though we may not agree. 🤸🏿♀️🥛
I'm sorry you were unable to access the article from the Lancet it explains a lot about this scandal.
I copy, from it, the following, -
"In 2016, the 28-day National Health Service (NHS) cost of liothyronine in the UK increased dramatically from about £4·50 to £258·19, resulting in widespread patient concern and media coverage. By contrast, the cost of levothyroxine has broadly remained the same. Clinicians are under increasing pressure to justify prescriptions and, for many patients, treatment has been discontinued or requires private sourcing. A parliamentary enquiry is ongoing. As these changes in costs occurred uniquely in the NHS, these trends in liothyronine prescribing likely only apply in the UK."
I doubt this is a debate about whether, "the (drug) manufacturers must therefore have a higher level of commercial/financial control imposed on them" ...it is about the integrity of all those involved and the knock on effect patients have to endure.
As I understand it the NHS has limited sources of T3 available to them, all at inflated costs, which suggests the current manufacturers have them over a barrel. I have checked availability and cost of T3 with a pharmacist. Other manufacturers have yet to come forward to apply for a licence leaving the NHS between a rock and a hard place.....and those manufacturers without competition and with the freedom to inflate prices.
If I'm wrong I'll be happy if someone jumps in and corrects me
I think the words, "We're in the Business of Shareholder Profit, Not Helping the Sick" will stick in the craw of the majority. The choice of words used here speaks volumes!
A fair profit is to be expected, but a hike from £4.50 to £218.19 is eye watering and appears to be extreme and devoid of moral rectitude.
Well, it was also a reaction to NHS trying to push everyone away from branded drugs to out-of-patent generics in an effort to save money by controlling prices of branded drugs. I find it amazing that no one seems to have expected that the obvious reaction would be to raise the price of generics which were not price controlled - unintended consequences? Just lack of common sense
Maybe, but it still doesn't excuse BP's extortionate price hike.
Lack of common sense.... and greed. An explosive combination!
MaisieGray has a point. A business has to recoup its costs, and that includes return on investment, from products which are successful as well as unsuccessful. If there is not enough return from monies invested in the business the monies might as well be put into the bank without the hassle. ‘Profit’ is becoming a dirty word yet without it there would be no employment and no ongoing research. How much profit when it comes to healthcare is another question. Very often figures are quoted as so many millions made per year but seldom is the amount of capital invested quoted; the return may be as low as 1% but the headlines focus on the profit generated.
There is a ‘law of unintended consequences’. The rate paid to care homes for each patient was reduced; the minimum wage was increased; consequence - care homes are closing and the elderly have nowhere to go.
Of course she has a point. No-one would expect them to run at a loss. But, as Bunnyjean said " there is profit and there is extortion". And what most drug companies go in for is extortion.
I do agree. Somewhere along the line the concept of ‘enough’ has been lost. A reduction in profits is reported as a loss nowadays - yet it is still a profit and often still a healthy one. This whole way of thinking has no role in people’s health care. What price for a life then? 🤸🏿♀️🥛
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