Op-Ed Defends Relationships Between Pharmaceutical Companies, Researchers
Critics who label relationships between university researchers and medical companies "as a morality play in which noble academics struggle to resist the dark, corrupting influence of industry" fail to realize that the "goal of medical research is not to publish papers, but to develop new treatments for people suffering from disease," management consultant David Shaywitz and Harvard University professor and Manhattan Institute Fellow Thomas Stossel write in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece. They continue, "After years of extensive public investment of billions of dollars in medical research, we have generated thousands of scientific papers, but few important new treatments for dreadful conditions."
They add that while "we have won some important battles" -- such as developments in statins and blood pressure medicines and HIV treatments -- "behind these spectacular achievements is an arduous, expensive and underappreciated journey, occurring largely in industry." The piece continues, "Given the vital role of medical products companies and the magnitude of their challenges, one might imagine that this industry would be admired," but "this enlightened view of industry is not widespread," as a "coterie of prominent critics we have previously dubbed as 'pharmascolds' ... routinely vilify the medical products industry and portray academics working with it as traitors and sellouts."
Shaywitz and Stossel write, "For the sake of the many patients whose diseases require innovative treatments -- and for the medical philanthropists determined to make it happen -- it's time for the leaders of the medical products industry to take pride in their purpose and start fighting back" (Shaywitz/Stossel, Wall Street Journal, 4/8).