i saw this infographic this weekend. it is informative and upfront, but not exactly surprising information. sometimes though, it is nice (or not?) to be able to legitimize one’s disdain regarding a social problem with cold, hard data.


the article says: “Drug companies justify the high prices they charge by arguing that their research and development (R&D) costs are huge. On average, only three in 10 drugs launched are profitable, with one of those going on to be a blockbuster with $1bn-plus revenues a year. Many more do not even make it to market. But as the table below shows, drug companies spend far more on marketing drugs – in some cases twice as much – than on developing them. And besides, profit margins take into account R&D costs.” source

maybe, potentially, there are arguments to be made in defense of pharmaceutical companies… but, consider GlaxoSmithKline: this company spends nearly twice as much on advertising as it does on R&D (9.9% vs 5.3%), and is being fined almost $500 MILLION for bribery in China! source

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keep in mind, $500 million is 4.4% of the R&D budget alone. 4.4% of anything may sound like chump change, but what doesn’t when you’re talking about tens of billions of dollars? this is just another example of what Heiner/our books calls “the relatively extreme form of capitalism that is found in the United States”. (pg 28)