Friday, August 18, 2006

Plavix: The Back Story

The capacity of pharmaceutical companies to throw their weight around for their own gain, as opposed to the public good, seems pretty much limitless these days.

Take the anticlotting drug Plavix. I do.
I am one of millions of Americans who swallow one of the little pink 75 milligram pills each day to try to prevent recurrance of heart attack or stroke, the later in my case. I have a good health-insurance plan through my employer and my co-pay for the drug is modest. Better still, Plavix has proven to be effective.
Plavix earns Bristol-Myers Squibb $3.5 billion each year in the U.S. and $6 billion worldwide, but that gravy train is coming to an end because its lucrative monopoloy is expiring, which clears the way for other companies to make a generic version of the popular drug which will cost less and undercut its sales.

Anyhow, the feds are investigating a deal by which Bristol-Myers and Sanofi-Aventis, its marketing partner, paid big bucks to forstall introduction of a generic form of Plavix.

More here.

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