Celebrating the Ethical Nag’s second anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to us!  Me and The Nag. Actually, one and the same.  Two short years ago today, I launched this baby sibling to my Heart Sisters blog.

My first post here was about how to read the extra-fine print at the bottom of scientific journal articles to see who’s paying for the positive results being reported in research studies. I’d already built up quite a head of steam over at Heart Sisters about what’s known as marketing-based medicine. I was on a roll, except the roll had almost nothing to do with my important focus of women and heart disease – our #1 killer. As a heart attack survivor who now takes a fistful of cardiac meds every day, I realized that I had no clue which of these drugs were being prescribed for me based on industry-influenced medical journal articles and tainted clinical research.  And worse – neither did my doctors.

Best to separate the sibs, I decided, so I could easily divide the emerging cardiology updates there and the marketing rants over here. Continue reading

Big Pharma’s “Pay for Delay” tactics keep generic drugs off the market

It takes a ton of time and money for a pharmaceutical company to produce a new drug.  Some companies claim an average of 12 years and over $350 million just to get one new drug from the research lab to your medicine cabinet.  And only then does a brand name drug starts to finally make money for its maker.  But after a number of years in the marketplace (usually between 7-12 years in the U.S. and up to 20 years in Canada), that brand name drug’s exclusive patent protection expires, thus opening the market to competition from cheaper generic forms of the same drug.  When generic drugs become available, the market competition often leads to much lower prices for both the original brand name drug and the generic forms.

So when a drug falls off the patent cliff, drugmakers stand to take a substantial hit to their profits from then on.  The bigger the blockbuster drug, the bigger that financial loss will be.  Continue reading

“Pay for Delay”- how off-patent brand name drugs fight off generics

Drug companies are acutely aware of what’s called the ‘patent cliff’, when their expensive brand name medications lose their patent protection, thus opening up the market for cheaper, identical generic competition. This is good news for consumers, but very bad news for Big Pharma. Lipitor*, for example, Pfizer’s blockbuster cholesterol medication, is set to fall off the patent cliff in 2011.

But even last year’s sales of the biggest selling drug on the planet already showed declines due to growing competition from other cholesterol drug manufacturers.  See also: Is Big Pharma Onboard the Titanic? Continue reading