The above Philadelphia Inquirer article follows several women in the pharmaceutical industry who have been laid off in the past months. The women are part of a trend that has seen thousands of pharmaceutical researchers, developers, marketers, and other employees losing jobs. The reason for the down-size is that many so-called “blockbuster drugs”-- high-earning drugs that treat common problems-- are now coming off their patents, meaning that any company (not just Merck or Pfizer) can develop generic versions of these drugs for cheaper. This equates to a substantial loss of revenue for the big players in the industry, who had gleaned most of their profit from these drugs. It also means big changes for industry-led research, which will now likely focus on developing so-called “niche” drugs that treat less common conditions.
While the content is informative, I find the tone and scope of this piece deeply unsettling.