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It is a tragic truism to remark that the merits of the pharma sector are most sharply perceived only at times of deep human suffering.
It is a tragic truism to remark that the merits of the pharma sector are most sharply perceived only at times of deep human suffering. The debates engendered by the latest Ebola outbreak neatly if nastily demonstrate the point. All of a sudden, the mass media and social networks are reflecting wide public demands for more action on drug development-instead of the customary complaints that drug firms are merely cynical money-making machines. How is it possible-the question is heard over and over again-that in this day and age no vaccines or medicines exist against such terrible diseases? Why have governments been so neglectful of obvious research needs? And as the anger and frustration increase, so yesterday’s bad boys in the pharma labs become seen more as the heroes of tomorrow, the great hope for miracle cures, the saviors of the world deserving of munificent funding and strong moral support. It was thus with bird flu, with SARS, and with numerous previous health scares-and once the immediate crisis passed, the abrupt surge of sympathy for drug researchers just as abruptly subsided, and the standard narrative was resumed.
For the full version of this Applied Clinical Trials article by Peter O’ Donnell, click here.