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Not for profit pharmaceutical company

Drugs for all conditions
  [vote for,

I have worked at a pharmaceutical company the last 4 years. During that time I have learned about the enormous amount of money it takes to bring a drug to market. The sum spent on research alone is staggering. The competition between companies is fierce millions are spent on legal battles, marketing, clinical studies and counter studies. In addition to this the companies must make a profit for their share holders.

I have been questioning the ethical conflict between making a profit and developing drugs for the good of humanity. Orphan drugs and unpatentable natural compounds are often ignored. My solution is to form a not for profit pharmaceutical company. Being a charity would relieve the company of many finical burdens allowing it to focus its resources on conditions that would be considered unprofitable by other pharmaceutical companies.

The company would have to make some money from the sales so it could pay competitive salaries, fund research ect.

duroncrush, Feb 01 2004

Office of Orphan Products Development http://www.fda.gov/orphan/
[duroncrush, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

NORD National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. http://www.rarediseases.org/
[duroncrush, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative http://www.dndi.org
Baked? [cowtamer, Nov 17 2006]


       I think it's a nice idea, but the principal benefit of being not-for-profit is to avoid paying taxes on income (or profit). Since research & development expenses are tax-deductible, you would be in the same situation as a normal company investing 100% of its profits in R&D. In other words if it lost money on orphan drugs it would still be losing that money, and not be in a different or advantaged position. OTOH, you would get the benefit of people making donations to it getting a personal tax break.   

       I do tend to think that not-for-profit works better for basic research (i.e. Howard Hughes, NIH, Wellcome Trust, academia) for the simple reason that there's no marketed product in mind. IMHO, for orphan drugs the root issue is for regulatory costs to be brought down and costs of treatment to be covered (publicly or privately) to a level where developing them doesn't destroy all the funds used in doing so.


       I can't object to companies earning a profit for providing a benefit to humanity, any more than I can object to grocery stores, farmers, clothing manufacturers, or homebuilders earning a profit through providing their crucial and much needed services. Or to physicians, nurses, or pretty much anyone earning a salary greater than the minimum necessary to survive because they truly benefit people. I admire persons or companies that choose to work in any of those areas, and we shouldn't stigmatize those who choose to perform highly necessary or helpful work by saying that it's somehow wrong for them to derive any benefit from doing so. Why is it more acceptable to earn money from perfume than from pharmaceuticals? People do seem to think that, and I've never understood why.   

       But I do feel that there should be more compensation for the basic science generated by research institutes and universities that is later translated into a product by others; and agree that the government should continue to do more to facilitate orphan products as posted in your link. Whew that was long.. I'd better take a sleeping pill and contribute $1 x 10-9 per share to the earnings of American Home Products. ;-)
dryman, Feb 01 2004

       Interesting comments DrymanI didn't mean to come across as being against companies making a profit. The company I work at is great and it's drugs have helped millions. I'm a realist and I know that the best reseachers demand the best pay and they deserve it. As I said the company would make money but it's finical needs and goals would be different. It's a charity and it would be taxed differently. My point is that there is an unfilled niche between research and retail. This is just one suggestion to fill that niche. It's just one more part of the puzzle.
duroncrush, Feb 01 2004


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