A Check-up on Big Pharma

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Hour 1

In the next few years, dozens of the world’s top-selling drugs will go off patent, drugs like Lipitor and Plavix, which millions of people take daily.  Generic versions of these popular medications will finally be available at considerably lower costs.  But while this is good news for consumers and health insurers, what will this loss in revenue mean for the pharmaceutical industry?  They’ve had fewer successful blockbusters drugs in recent years and some experts say that the drug pipeline is drying up.  This hour, a check-up on the drug industry. We’ll look at the patent issue and how it could effect the future development of medicine.  We’ll also talk about how drugs are marketed, two recent Supreme Court cases that ruled in favor of Big Pharma, the FDA’s drug approval process, and the issue of ghost writing in medical journals.  Guest host Tracey Matisak talks with GARRET FITZGERALD, Professor in Translational Medicine and Therapeutics at the University of Pennsylvania, and SCOTT HENSLEY, host and editor of NPR’s Shots blog.

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[audio: 072711_100630.mp3]

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