Drug company Novartis claims that $4 million is a reasonable price for a single treatment with its new gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a serious genetic condition that causes increasing muscular weakness and problems with movement. It often leads to an early death. Yet again, therefore, this story demonstrates how the pharmaceutical industry isn’t really a health industry at all, it’s an investment industry driven by the profits it makes for its shareholders. To the executives and investors who control drug companies, benefiting human life and health is completely secondary to their insatiable desire to make ever higher profits. Driven by this greed, the pharmaceutical industry’s total global sales now exceed 1 trillion dollars a year. Estimates suggest that by 2020, the total will reach 1.4 trillion dollars.
Behind the scenes, however, the fact is that the pharmaceutical industry is on the brink of terminal decline. Research and development (R&D) returns in drug development now stand at just 3.2 percent and could potentially reach zero by the year 2020. To put it simply, this means that each dollar spent on R&D by drug companies would merely result in an income of a dollar. In other words: the pharmaceutical industry would no longer be profitable. By 2040 this could ultimately result in its annual income falling catastrophically, by around 90 percent compared to what it is today. To learn why, read this article on our website.