DE CORRESPONDENT - BIG PHARMA

 

Throughout 2019 I illustrated for a serie of articles about the pharmaceutical industry on De Correspondent. The series is written by Ruben Mersch who worked in the pharmaceutical industry himself for a decade and is now a journalist.

INTRODUCTION

This article was an introduction to a series that would dive into the complex industry of Big Pharma. The core research would be about how the pharmaceutical industry went from an industry that was meant to improve healthcare, to mainly pursuing double-digit growth and return on investments. What needs to happen to change that back again?

MAKING MEDICINES

To understand how the pharmaceutical industry works, this article elaborates on the extensive process that goes into making a medicine.

INEQUALITY

 

The pharmaceutical industry mostly invests in developing medicines for rich countries and markets where a lot of profit can be made. Meanwhile, diseases that are typical for third world countries for instance, get neglected.

INTERESTS FOR DEVELOPMENT

The article is about how the pharmaceutical industry decides when a medicine 'works', and the interests that go along with making that decision.

TREATMENT BY NUMBERS

Article about how nowadays, someone's health is often measured by a number, not by if he or she feels ill or not. If the number is too low or too high, medicines are needed. Those value's of when a person is healthy, has changed over the past 60 years. Always in the direction that determines more and more people would 'need' medicines.

USELESS MEDICINES

This accompanying article ranks useless medicines from the pharmaceutical industry. A often used profit module is to prescribe patients with medicines to prevent becoming ill, while there are no signs of illness occurring.

DEMOCRATIC LEAFLETS

To create more transparency and awareness about medicines, the writer Ruben Mersch asked his readers what information they would like to see disclosed about their medicines on the enclosed leaflets.

BOOKS ABOUT PHARMA

 

In this article Ruben Mersch recommends 5 insightful books about how the pharmaceutical industry functions.

CLEAR WARNINGS

 

Ruben reacts to suggestions by his readers about waht kind of clear warnings leaflets and medicine packaging should have when it comes to side effects and other information. 

SELF DIAGNOSIS

 

This article aims to guide people for when they ask the internet about symptoms and diseases that they might have before going to a doctor. There is a way the internet can help without over-diagnosing yourself.

MEDICINES OUT OF STOCK

 

In The Netherlands cheap generic medicines keep running out of stock. With more expensive medicines this is less of a problem. It turns out that for the industry, investing in medicines with higher revenue is more important than meeting the demand of patients. Also, countries that pay more are getting first treat.

CANCER TREATMENT

 

For patients, there is a lot of obscurity around medicines to treat cancer. The development of new ones is often profitable system for the pharmaceutical industry but that does not necessarily mean the treatment improves.

And often, patients don't even know what they're taking.

ROADTRIP THROUGH PHARMALAND

 

Ruben Mersch went on a roadtrip to through pharmaland, talking to former colleagues and whistleblowers about the industry.

© RALPH ZABEL 2020

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