04/29/2008 11:18 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

That Sucking Sound May Be The Sound of the Prescription Drug Pipeline Running Dry

I have a secret (?) interest in drug news and the pharmaceutical industry but it seems like the only place I can get a fix for my jones outside of or the pharma marketing blog is the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) or the New York Times Business Section. But if you spend too much time reading the WSJ about drugs you will end up joining a cult where everyone is involved in a plot to give Lipitor to the entire population of the US with the sole purpose of propping up the profits of that (sorry ass) drug's manufacturer, regardless of the side effects or consequences (or benefits?) to the drug's takers. And the New York Times Business Section seems to look at the inevitable bad news about drug side effects not as an opportunity to warn consumers about the potential negative side effects of prescription drugs, but as a warning to hedge funds about future turns of that drug's manufacturers stock price. Why else do they write about it in the business section and nowhere else? And then those yappers start speed talking out of both sides of their mouths about capitalism and the profit motive and the positive effect it will have on Americans. Well like you I am thoroughly disgusted with the whole American capitalism bullshit talk that they are trying to dish out to us as good for us while in fact that is really good for corporations. I mean who do they think we are, culturally impaired beings or something? When was the last time that the value of your 401k actually went... up?

OK here is the real dish from an MD who is not brain damaged and who follows the pharma news. And whoopee doo it's free. (I would consult for pay to a hedge fund but someone from pharma would probably hang me out to dry for it anyway). Big Pharma has done a miracle job at convincing everyone that they have an endless stream of miracle drugs that are barrelling out of their 'pipelines' that are going to cure everything from shingles to diabetes. Well HELLO most of those conditions are not CURABLE DISEASES but conditions that cannot be cured, but whose symptoms can only be modified. And most of their drugs are 'me-too' drugs that don't offer anything really new but rather another variant of a drug already on the market that isn't any better than what is already out there. And the 'new classes' of drugs can dazzle you with the fact that they have a 'new mechanism' that supposedly is going to be better than the 'old' drugs which likely cost one tenth as much-- but that claim is likely to be not true.

Bottom line is that penicillin was a great drug, but since then... hasn't been much but marketing. But hats off to those marketing folks... they did a great job! But can they keep it rolling? If I were a betting man, I would say... I don't think so.

Hmmm... Can hear that sucking noise now...

Doug Bremner MD is author of
'Before You Take That Pill: Why the Drug Industry May be Bad for Your Health: Risks and Side Effects You Won't Find on the Label of Commonly Prescribed Drugs, Vitamins and Supplements,'