This week's news was dominated by last Friday's verdict in the Vioxx case that was either a decisive blow against the evils of capitalism or the end of Western civilization as we know it, depending on your point of view. The Vioxx case is perhaps a sentinel event. It could be what's needed to spur big pharma, the FDA, the medical profession and the public into a new compact. In this new era, everything that is known about a drug -- pre-and post-market approval -- would be tracked, reported publicly and analyzed, and the collusion between pharma and the FDA over hiding data from the public would need to end. The risks and rewards of taking these drugs would be clearly understood.
Pharma would have to change their marketing dramatically (much more so than the proposed minor restrictions on DTC) and accept lower profits. The public (and their lawyers) would have to accept that there are risks as well as magic in pill bottles, but that for some patients they're risks worth taking. Physicians and pharmacists would have to spend much more time educating the public and themselves. This grown-up view about pharmaceuticals may not fit our needs for black and white outcomes, but it is in line with the "consumer" healthcare system we are moving toward. If we don't get there, the more likely future is restrictions on drug development and supply that will hurt patients overall, an over-cautious FDA, and a grumpy pharma industry continuing to play "dodgeball."
Also, I encourage you to check out FierceMarkets' newest publication: IT-Wireless. It's a weekly newsletter that helps CIOs and IT managers and interested consumers implement wireless and mobile technologies. In it, readers will find "how-to" advice and practical tips for purchasing, using and protecting new technologies. Please sign up at www.it-wireless.com. - Matthew