29 July 2011

Oxymoronic: Pharmaceutical Company

There is a magical place where geniuses in white coats carry out research and produce remedies in the everlasting fight against human ailment. Most of them do what they do because they want to help people. The rest of them are businessmen (and women). Businessfolk are in the business of turning the work of the workers into the business of the businessfolk. By “the business of the businessfolk”, I naturally mean “the money of the businessfolk and the investors, and to a certain extent the workers as well, and to a much smaller extent some philanthropy and humanitarian aid to keep up appearances”.

So therein is the oxymoron: while you started your pharmaceutical company with good intentions, trying to reduce human suffering, now you don't want to reduce it at all, because when human suffering decreases, you'll see an equal decline in the sales of your remedies. That represents an equal decline in the funding available for your workers to carry out your research, which represents a loss of research, which allows ailments to propagate unfettered and suffering to increase.

Ordinarily I don't believe in doing things for the sake of doing things, but as a pragmatist, my objective morality compels me to pursue the path of least human suffering, as well as the path of least absurd complexity, which in this case means making a slightly unusual suggestion:

Pharmaceutical companies should not be companies. They should be government services. And before you say that our government is too far in debt to be creating more services, why don't we cut everything that isn't a public service and just see if the simplest concept isn't really the best?