Thursday, October 20, 2005

Drug companies' profits

Anyone who's battling breast cancer or known someone who battled breast cancer will have their spirits lifted by today's news that Herceptin seems to be a significant breakthrough in our war against this scourge.

Herceptin isn't cheap. In the UK an annual course of treatment costs more than £20,000. And, as sure as day follows night, today's news will be followed by people complaining about drug companies 'gouging' the sick and the dying.

I can understand the emotion that leads to such arguments, but if drug companies didn't make money there'd be practically no research on new drugs. It may be unpalatable to some, but the investors who make these new drugs possible, like those who own shares in Genetech, makers of Herceptin, want a financial return. It doesn't bother me at all.