Friday, June 26, 2015

What Constitutes Reasonable Return?

Orphan diseases are perhaps the most cruel of illnesses. Frequently life threatening, they afflict only a very small percentage of the world's populations, thereby discouraging research and making any drugs that are developed prohibitively expensive. Are pharmaceutical companies that do develop treatments merely getting fair return on their investment, or are they in fact extorting governments through manipulative emotional pressures as they assist families in publicizing their plight in bids to get government approval?

These questions and others are raised in a documentary shown on The National the other night. The drug in question, Solaris, costs over $600 thousand per year to save the life of one person.

As you will see, parents and other loved ones are put into untenable positions, making them easy pawns for what some would say are unfair pharmaceutical practices. That being said, I would do exactly what they are doing to save someone close to me.

You decide the ethics here:


  1. Lorne, we have a serious problem of profiteering indifferent to the impact it has on life on our planet. It is unfortunate that pharmaceutical companies are mainly interested in profiteering.

    For example it is a fact that marijuana helps certain health problems with less side-effects. I believe it is partially not being legalized because of powerful pharmaceutical lobby.

    1. There no longer seems a middle ground by which private interests and the public good can co-exist harmoniously, LD. The kinds of economic absolutism that the corporate agenda promotes benefits only the few.

      I agree that big pharma is likely a big obstacle on the road to marijuana legalization. Anything that would reduce the profits of the drugs they peddle is a target of their power.