Sunday, 7 November 2010

Motivation, profit, big pharma

The big pharmaceutical companies are trying to make profits for their shareholders. That's part of the profit system. Have a look at "Big Pharma Big Bucks" on YouTube - US based, with more direct advertising than UK, but you'll get the idea. They can effectively relaunch drugs under a new name, and we all know how generic drugs can often be much cheaper than branded ones. They also 'invent' lifestyle diseases - "disorders" that don't really have any pathology, but play on people's desire to be/feel better, in an effort to sell more drugs. The companies can't really get out of this. If company A starts marketing a new product, company B has to compete.

These companies are selling powerful chemicals, whose unwanted side effects they will want to play down, and the more they sell (ie we take) the higher their profits. Which is supposed to be better. This provoked a thought about motivation. Critics of TVP/TZM claim that without money there would be no motivation. But do you really want pharmaceutical manufacturers / sellers / pharmacists / GPs that are motivated by money if money comes from selling more pills and potions? Plainly we ideally want people motivated by making people better, and it we can't have that we must harness the motivation that money provides to that goal, and not the goal of selling more drugs.

Of course people aren't actually motivated by money - only by the goods and services that they can use it to obtain. Even the power money brings can only be used to obtain goods and services in the end. Because of the monetary system, we have an advertising industry that tries to make people want goods and services, so that they buy them and keep the profits coming in. That's the system - we have to keep that money on the move.

If we step back and look at what we actually want for ourselves, our fellow humans and our planet, a different picture will emerge. What we want from our pharmaceutical industry is good health, for example.

No comments:

Post a Comment