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December 14, 2006

INSTAPUNDIT: "Real or fake?"

Jeez, get a clue.

UPDATE: Reader Jim Dunn emails:

Greetings, blogfather. Just wanted to add my voice to your chorus praising big pharma. My mother has gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST), and a Novartis drug called Gleevec has given her years more life than she could have enjoyed otherwise.

What's more, I WANT companies who develop products like Gleevec to make big money. If the people battling against life-threatening diseases don't deserve piles of money, who does? It's so stupid it makes my hair hurt to hear people gripe about big pharma, then turn around and blithely talk about a major league ballplayer making $15 million a year or a movie star earning $20 million for one 90-minute batch of celluloid drivel as if that's perfectly normal.

And Michael Ubaldi writes:

For those who weren't aware, distrust of drug-makers -- already irrational -- has become blind enmity.

My aunt is senior director of a Pfizer toxicology department. At a family gathering in July, she and I spoke about work. It was immediately obvious that my aunt had come to find it easier to couch her occupation
in apologia, so I interrupted her and, before asking her to continue, made clear that she had nothing to be ashamed of.

Only a moron would want to live in a society where people are ashamed to work for drug companies. And yet, I'm not surprised to see that resulting from the demagogy that abounds among politicians and "public interest" types who are not serving the public interest whatsoever.

Meanwhile, reader Steven Grim emails:

Your post about the drug that has changed your wife's life got me thinking about my own life changing drug. I take Imitrex for migraine headaches. Before finding this drug my life was severely impacted at
least one time a week. No amount of any over the counter medication would even dent the pain from these headaches. My only recourse was to sleep them off for a day and I usually had to deal with nausea. It affected both my work and social life to a great degree. Now with Imitrex, my headache is gone within a half hour, there are no side effects, and it's not a narcotic so there are no addiction concerns. It has changed my life. It's expensive, but it is absolutely worth it.

For me, it's acid-lowering drugs like aciphex and, more recently, Nexium that have made a huge difference. And come to think of it, I wrote a column on the underrated nature of these non-lifesaving drugs a while back.

Hey, Big Pharma isn't perfect. But treating 'em like they are evil is stupid, and counterproductive, and the people who do it are the ones who deserve to be ostracized and humiliated, not the people who are actually working on things that make life better.