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Firms abandoning antibiotics research

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. macrumors P6


    Drugs that make more money sought

    By Christopher Rowland, Globe Staff, 3/13/2004

    America's drug industry, including anti-infection pioneers Eli Lilly & Co. and Wyeth, is abandoning research into antibiotics in favor of more lucrative drugs at a time when patients need new versions to fight drug-resistant bacteria.

    New antibiotic research has taken a back seat because companies are chasing larger drug markets that promise bigger profits such as pills for depression, heartburn, and erectile dysfunction. The shift to treat chronic ailments and "lifestyle" complaints is of growing concern among infectious disease doctors who say market conditions are steering manufacturers away from areas of critical medical need.

  2. macrumors 6502a

    This will just cause other companies to go into anti-biotics.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Unfortunately probably not with the high costs of research. There are only a few really big drug companies in the world that have the resources to devote to intensive research and with many of the big ones pulling out it may force the government to step in with grants, etc. which may be what the drug companies want. I would watch the news over the next 12 months and see if congress acts with some major bill designed to foster research into antibiotics...and then we will have to figure out if this is what they planned all along. Not trying to be a conspiracy theorist, but the drug companies have a long international history of doing things like this and having a very heavy hand in government policy in several countires.
  4. macrumors newbie

    This is further proof that america is on the downswing of the great sine wave that is civilization. Mass hypno-tainment, dumbing down of the children, increased religious fervor and decreased attention toward the fundamental building blocks of the society are causing the decline of what we think of as western civilization. In about a hundred and fifty years america will be in what will become known as the second great Dark Age. Europe has already experienced something like this, but the american dark age will be known for decreased scientific thought and increased religious thought while the population in general will be stuffed full of useless, often incorrect, information that prevents the feeling of ignorance to set in. Mass entertained mass produced mass homogenized culture will break and poverty, disease, hunger and mass death will ensue.
    The good news is that eventually, probably about two or three hundred years after the full onset of the dark age, artists and thinkers will emerge, bringing back the concepts of the great civilizations that ruled before the first two dark ages. Greek and Roman mathematics and philosophy were reintroduced after the first dark age, bringing about what we now know as the European Renaissance, which was the beginning of the great upswing that we have experienced the end of during the last half of the twenieth century. After the second coming dark age, 'Western' science and mathematic ideals of the late ninteenth/early twentieth centuries will replace the dogmatic infotainment that is beginning to permeate our lives today. And humans will once again be able to make money manufacturing antibiotics.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Hmmm... WTF? Where did this come from?!
  6. macrumors 65816


    The artists and thinkers will emerge, but us religous freaks will burn 'em at the stake. Just like we always have. Let 'em stick their collective heads out. I dare 'em.
  7. macrumors P6


    This seems to be greed on part of the drug companies. It's very unnerving that they advertise to the public, medications should only come from physicians. There needs to be a return to doing for the public good once again. Profit is a good thing, but there are turning it into an illness.

    We are at a point now that many diseases are drug resistant because of over prescribing. It is also the fault of the patient. Patients think that if they see the doctor a prescription should follow. The drug resistant problem is only going to increase.
  8. macrumors 68000


    Wow! I read the same thing the other day in the National Enquirer! I think the article was titled, "The Sky is Falling," written by C. Little. I think it was last week sometime...you oughta check it out.
  9. macrumors P6


    That is a good reply agreenster. You forgot to provide him a link. :p
  10. Guest


    Speaking someone who has worked in drug discovery at both one of the largest pharma companies and one of the smallest, there are a number of ways of viewing this. Basically as you've said drug comapnies are expected to make a profit and actually a bigger return for investors than some other companies as they are seen as riskier. So big pharma generally looks for 10+% growth per annum. Everyone accepts the need for new antibiotics but they tend to give a fairly low return. They need to be cheap to make as the existing drugs cost cents per dose and if you're competing with that it doesn't leave a lot for expensive synthetic chemistry and a profit margin.

    On the whole, the current situation seems to be that big pharma is simply not prepared to spend a ton of money to discover antibacterials when there is going to very little return.

    On the other hand they do seem prepared to take a potential drug discovered by smaller companies, in-licence and do the development and clinical trials. This still costs a lot of money (at least several tens of millions dollars maybe even hundreds) but a lot of the risk has already been shouldered by the small firm that discovered it. Things can still fall out of clinical development but most of the attrition is in the early stages in the transition from R to D.
  11. macrumors P6


    The drug companies still need to have a social conscious. They should try to look out for their fellow human. If people die because of the lack of proper antibiotics, then there won't be customers to purchase the money making drugs.

    Drug resistant bacteria is a very serious medical problem. The hope just may be in the current DNA/Genetic research. In the future it could very well leave drug companies behind.
  12. Guest


    People die from malaria and loads of other tropical diseases. Sadly for them they happen to be poor and are also unprofitable. Unmet clinical need really only means anything in pharma companies if that need is in the big markets which are in reverse order - Europe, Japan and North American. Basically if a few rich elderly Americans can't get a hard on that takes precedence over thousands of poor Africans dying of malaria. Incredibly sad but true. You can't expect companies that are ultimately responsible to investors to act like charities. That's capitalism...
  13. macrumors 68030


    Don't ask me how to fix it, but there is something wrong with the medical industries being subject to market conditions. It takes away from the true purpose of medicine: To improve the physical and mental health of the world.
  14. macrumors regular


    The pharmaceutical industry is basically being "forced" into pursuing higher margin products for a few reasons:

    - The demonization of the industry and their marketing / sales efforts

    - The extraordinary cost of settling litigation

    - "Lifestyle" drugs require less rigorous clinical research (i.e. showing improvement in a symptom vs. trying to prove improved survival, fewer patients required) and therefore have less costly development cycles

    The three above factors contribute to a diminshed bottom line which makes it increasingly difficult for the pharmaceutical industry to "subsidize" R&D of drugs / drug classes with lower margins like antibiotics.

    And finally, if our Department of Agriculture got off their butts and actually worked at reforming the feed lot system within the livestock industry and ALL healthcare workers washed their hands after EVERY patient encounter the rates of infection and colonization with multidrug resistant bacteria in humans would decrease to nearly nothing. Nearly any other effort to "stem the tide" of antibiotic resistant organisms will be futile.

    </end rant>
  15. macrumors P6


    I agree with themadchemist, there is something wrong with health care as it is currently setup. It seems that we need the wisdom of King Solomon to come of with the solution. We also need the will of the American public for reform.

    Health Care used to be be a helping profession for the betterment of society. Now it has become a business just like any other industry. It's always the bottom line and stockholders. The patient is just an annoyance.
  16. macrumors P6


    Many studies have been conducted showing that nurses do wash their hands in a timely fashion. There are nosocomial infections which are hospital based, they occur as a result of being in the hospital. The majority of the drug resistant bacteria occurs in the hospital.
  17. macrumors regular


    I know, but many studies have also showed that handwashing compliance in general is dismal amongst healthcare workers.

    True; I guess for accuracy I should have said community acquired MRSA and to a greater extent VRE. . .
  18. macrumors regular

    I agree completely with you; but when emergency departments and hospitals must close or severely curtail services because of funding shortages (Grady Memorial here in Atlanta, MUSC in Charleston, and countless others) patient care suffers because of the lack of cash. It IS unfortunate that even charity based hospitals are struggling to meet their budgetary restrictions; however, you and I and our coworkers and the docs and the lab and radiology techs and (even) the administrative staff (shudder) have to get paid and all the diagnostic and support equipment and meds must be paid for. I'm not criticizing the situation, but basically the question is do you tolerate all the expenses necessary to provide the level of healthcare currently available, or do you cut back on patient care services to stay within budgetary constraints since it's unlikely that equipment, meds, and our time will be "donated." How many of us can work full time with no pay? It's easy to blame the situation on the dollar (and don't get me wrong, I totally agree that it IS all about the dollar) without considering the alternative. Would decreased healthcare services be acceptable to a public that often demands the latest and greatest? So, there has to be a fundamental shift in the expectations of the public. Two routine "old school" sonograms during a normal uncomplicated pregnancy vs. a 4D scan at every follow up? Furosemide and digoxin for a chronic heart failure patient or Coreg and Altace? Zosyn + Flagyl for febrile neutropenia or ampicillin and gentamicin? Nursing assessments every shift or once daily? If the public can be successfully convinced that a lower level of healthcare is all they NEED regardless of what's AVAILABLE, I think we can go a long way in making our dollars go further. Now as for convincing the American public. . .
  19. macrumors P6


    There lies the real problem as you have just so nicely outlined it for us. Increasing costs will eventually cause change. Many times the less expensive drug or treatment is actually better. I'm taking a drug that is less expensive old line drug. If my beliefs became common place, it would cause a radical realignment of the medical business.
  20. macrumors regular

    Absolutely; a radical change indeed. The major barrier to the general public adopting this view, of course, would be the advertising and lobbying of the medical equipment and pharmaceutical industries convincing them of "needing" the latest and greatest of everything all the time ;)
  21. macrumors 65816


    That's strange to hear, coming from healthcare professionals. As a member of the American public, all I hear from the healthcare industry is that I need more. More tests, more specialized medications, more procedures, more everything. They tell me I ought to go to the doctor more often to take a preventative stance towards health problems, rather than just go when I need a doctor. I ought to be taking vitamins, supplements, etc. No one's ever tried to tell me I need LESS care, less medicine, less medical oversight.

    It seems that perhaps I ought to be drawing a distinction between the opionions of healthcare professionals and the healthcare industry......
  22. macrumors P6


    The healthcare industry is a business, they are looking to profit not your healthcare. A lot of the tests ordered by doctors are to prevent lawsuits. Doctors don't want to be before a jury and not have done everything. Lawyers make a big deal about proper testing. Their goal is the same profit, they make much more that the client that was injured. Doctors need to learn how to do a proper history and physical, be a diagnostician. No one is perfect, but then can diagnose by just listening to the patient and not machines.

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