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Disturbing but not surprising

Posted by plosmedicine on 31 Mar 2009 at 00:19 GMT

Author: Elizabeth Pisani
Position: Epidemiologist
Institution: Independent consultant
Submitted Date: January 10, 2008
Published Date: January 10, 2008
This comment was originally posted as a “Reader Response” on the publication date indicated above. All Reader Responses are now available as comments.

For those trying to get drugs to patients in poor countries at reasonable prices, every bit of ammunition that helps counter the cry "high prices are the cost of innovation" is useful, and this paper provides ammunition aplenty. The authors' findings are not remotely surprising, but that does not stop them being disturbing.

One figure that did surprise me was that for spending on direct-to-consumer advertising. US$ 4 bln seemed comparatively low. In my field (HIV) this category seems to be expanding apace, but that may be because it is an increasingly competitive market. I'd be interested to know if there are any reliable trend data in this area across the industry as a whole.

For more comment, see the science and HIV blog:

No competing interests declared.