Pharmaceutical Ouroboros

I find it interesting that Merck is being sued for Vioxx. It was supposed to be a drug for arthritis pain but it turns out that it causes strokes and heart attacks. Now there are lawyers gathering to start the litigation.

At first I was miffed at the lawyers. Blood suckers. But then I thought about the cycle. The drug company spends millions developing a drug that is supposed to do something great. They spend millions more marketing it (Vioxx had more money spent on its marketing than did Pepsi). The public decides that they need it. The insurance companies start paying for it. Millions of dollars move from the insurance companies to the drug companies and millions of doses move to the ailing public. Then something goes wrong. Someone dies or get sick. The lawyers move in and start suing. Millions (maybe billions) move from the drug company to the lawyers and insurance companies and a small portion goes back into the pockets of the injured public.

The money swirls around. It originates with the public who pay the insurance premiums and by the medicine. In the end, insurance companies and lawyers get a big chunk or it remains with the drug companies who largely produce medicines that cover our pain or the symptoms but mostly do not cure anything. They just make the disease manageable and the people dependent on the drug. I just found the entire process fascinating.

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