Monday, July 15, 2013

China’s Drug Money Bust

The investigation into pharmaceutical marketing in China led to a series of arrests today. Officials spoke of half a billion dollars in bribes paid to doctors and others to promote specific drugs. The scale of the illicit marketing effort suggests that the industry is not as successful as it appears and that the drugs are not as effective as their manufacturers told regulators. Some products take off on their own, others with a normal marketing effort. When a product needs a big push, it is a sign that the product has limited intrinsic merit — or sometimes that the manufacturer is in a hurry to sell as much as possible before the product’s shortcomings and limitations are well understood.