The Ethics Blog

A blog from the Centre for Research Ethics & Bioethics (CRB)

Commercialization, but not at any price

Pär SegerdahlIn a previous post, I tried to make the point that the pharmaceutical industry can support altruism between research participants and patients, despite the fact that the industry itself is not altruistic but is driven by profit. Medical research will not benefit patients, unless results are developed into commercially available treatments.

However, this presupposes, of course, that pricing is reasonable, so that we can actually afford the drugs. Otherwise, research and research participation become meaningless.

Today, I just want to recommend an article in the journal Cell, where the authors argue that the prices of new cancer drugs have become indefensibly high. They propose new collaborations between academic researchers and small companies, to offer cancer drugs at more reasonable prices. Researchers should ensure that the companies they work together with are willing to sell the drugs with smaller profit margins.

You can find a summary of these ideas in The Guardian.

Pär Segerdahl

Workman, P. Draetta, G. F., Schellens, J. H. M., Bernards, R. (2017). How much longer will we put up with $100,000 cancer drugs? Cell 168: 579-583.

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2 Comments

  1. amalmatarcrb

    IT is interesting to see how governments are, in their attempts to decentralize pharma and allow free market, have lost to some extent the power to regulate such companies. Now these companies have grown strong and are more dictating the terms to governments and research. Now with bigger alliances maybe there is a need for global regulatory formats that can regulate such things as pricing and exploitation. I am not sure if such entities are in place already, if they are they seem ineffectual.

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