Big Pharma: a former insider’s view [Book Review]

Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (2):249-264 (2013)
David Badcott
Cardiff University
There is no lack of criticisms frequently levelled against the international pharmaceutical industry (Big Pharma): excessive profits, dubious or even dishonest practices, exploiting the sick and selective use of research data. Neither is there a shortage of examples used to support such opinions. A recent book by Brody (Hooked: Ethics, the Medical Profession and the Pharmaceutical Industry, 2008) provides a précis of the main areas of criticism, adopting a twofold strategy: (1) An assumption that the special nature and human need for pharmaceutical medicines requires that such products should not be treated like other commodities and (2) A multilevel descriptive approach that facilitates an ethical analysis of relationships and practices. At the same time, Brody is fully aware of the nature of the fundamental dilemma: the apparent addiction to (and denial of) the widespread availability of gifts and financial support for conferences etc., but recognises that ‘Remove the industry and its products, and a considerable portion of scientific medicine’s power to help the patient vanishes’ (Brody 2008, p. 5). The paper explores some of the relevant issues, and argues that despite the identified shortcomings and a need for rigorous and perhaps enhanced regulation, and realistic price control, the commercially competitive pharmaceutical industry remains the best option for developing safer and more effective medicinal treatments. At the same time, adoption of a broader ethical basis for the industry’s activities, such as a triple bottom line policy, would register an important move in the right direction and go some way toward answering critics
Keywords Big Pharma  Market manipulation  Medicalization  Pharmaceutical industry ethics  Triple bottom line policy
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s11019-012-9388-6
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 36,555
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Does Milton Friedman Support a Vigorous Business Ethics?Christopher Cosans - 2009 - Journal of Business Ethics 87 (3):391-399.
The Case Against Perfection.Michael Sandel - 2004 - The Atlantic (April):1–11.
The Concepts of Health and Illness Revisited.Lennart Nordenfelt - 2007 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 10 (1):5-10.

View all 28 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Towards a Genealogy of Pharmacological Practice.Ricardo Camargo & Nicolás Ried - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (1):85-94.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Big Pharma: A Story of Success in a Market Economy. [REVIEW]Joao Calinas-Correia - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (2):305-309.
The Dominance of Big Pharma: Power. [REVIEW]Andrew Edgar - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (2):295-304.
Intellectual Property and Pharmaceutical Drugs.Richard T. de George - 2005 - Business Ethics Quarterly 15 (4):549-575.
Pens and Other Pharmaceutical Industry Gifts.Howard Brody - 2003 - American Journal of Bioethics 3 (3):58-60.
The Dominance of Big Pharma: Unhealthy Relationships? [REVIEW]David Badcott & Stephan Sahm - 2013 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 16 (2):245-247.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
48 ( #136,893 of 2,302,921 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
8 ( #69,148 of 2,302,921 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature