Counterfeit Drugs: The New Alchemy

In olden days practitioners of alchemy claimed they had “the capability of turning base metals into the noble metals gold or silver“.”  In the modern day drug manufacturers have actually achieved this goal.  They have become one of the most profitable industries with margins that even Apple would envy.  Imagine charging over $100,000 for a few milligrams of a product that works for just  a few months—if at all.  (With a few exceptions but that’s another story)

I’m not criticizing the fact that pharmaceutical manufacturers want to help with such problems but rather that they expect unrealistic, unsustainable profits from the endeavor.  They claim that their wildly inflated cost structure is the reason.  But one can counterclaim that they have long gamed the costs by over-paying each step of the way in the drug’s development and marketing based on high profit hopes.  They are inefficient.

It’s a flaw in the “not so free” health market that once a drug is developed manufacturers have a monopoly for a generation and can hype  and overcharge for the drug as much as they want.  They take advantage of the sickest most desperate of our patients by heavily marketing marginally effective product.

It’s not surprising then that other people want in and that counterfeit very expensive drugs are showing up.

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