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Commentary

Putting Profits ahead of Patients
Dr. Scott Gottlieb, Forbes, 3-17-05

Gottlieb notes that Novartis, “a highly profitable research based [pharmaceutical company]”, has made the decision to “bound into the low-profit commodity generic medicine business” - a move that bodes ill for future patients in need of innovative new drugs.

Novartis, like the handful of remaining major European drug companies, has learned to cope in price-controlled markets abroad while at the same time making enough money in the free U.S. market to support its research mission. It should be little surprise that the only other big branded drug maker with a serious stake in the generic drug industry is the French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi-Aventis. Sanofi enjoys unfettered access to the French generic drug market, where the government sets high prices and has high barriers against competing generic drug makers that want to do business there, protecting homegrown companies like Sanofi at the expense of everyone else.


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