There is a fascinating two-part discussion taking place at Forbes.com. First, Matt Herper poses the question “What’s Pharma Done For You Lately?” Apparently, quite a lot:
We get so tied up in the questions over the efficacy over individual drugs, of the ethical and scientific missteps of Vioxx and Avandia, the overmarketing of Zyprexa or Seroquel, that we forget this very important fact: The drug industry does more good than harm. It may not always live up to the standards it should, but acting as if we’re not making progress only adds to the problem.
This lead to an interesting comment from Peter DeVilbiss, a former executive at Merck, on the impact of the industry, and effectiveness of DTC advertising:
First of all, I think it is unequivocal fact that without the pharma industry there would be a lot less people alive on the earth today. That’s just indisputable….
If there was a regulatory mandate for all pharma companies to cease direct-to-consumer advertising for prescription drugs and vaccines, what would happen? It is not clear to me that this would be a death knell for the industry. I think it’s reasonable to assume that revenues would fall, but the big question is whether costs would fall more?
Herper then pulled the DeVilbiss comment from the first post and created another post to continue the discussion. The comments (and rants!) on both of these posts are really quite interesting.