Drug executives should take a Hippocratic oath
The industry must earn patients’ trust that new medicines really are worth the price, says Bob More.
Last month, pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli was sentenced to seven years in prison for securities fraud. In August 2015, his company bought monopoly rights to a life-saving drug that treats parasitic infections in people with weak immune systems. Without adding any value or doing significant research, the company then raised the drug’s price by more than 5,000%, from US$13.50 to $750 for a single tablet. Plenty of drug-industry insiders decried Shkreli as “not one of us”, emphasizing the virtues of biotechnology and innovative pharmaceuticals. But when any executive engages in price gouging, it validates the negative bias against the drug industry. Innovators and opportunists will go down together, unless the former agree to push the latter out.
By Bob More